The reign of the Roomba is at an end.
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is an expensive but exceptional robo-vac
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is an expensive but excellent robot vacuum cleaner that's just a bit better than the competition. It's overkill for smaller homes and hard to justify if you're on a budget, but those who take the plunge are unlikely to be disappointed with this low-maintenance, high-performance crowd-pleaser.
While iRobot's iconic disc-shaped cleaner is still around, it's far from the only or the best robot vacuum in the mix nowadays. Like all good things, the reign of the Roomba has to end sometime and there's a case to be made that the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra might be the one to do it.
For a time, it felt like the robot vacuum category was trapped in a race towards affordability. The more interesting end of the market was the bottom one. After all, when the drawbacks of a good robovac and a cheap one are almost identical, who wouldn't opt to save the cash and go with the latter?
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is the first robot vacuum that's pulled my attention in the other direction. The bad news? It's one of the most expensive options on the menu if you're in the market. Fortunately, it's one of the rare high-end options that genuinely lives up to the lofty asking price.
How much does the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra cost in Australia?
In Australia, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra starts at an RRP of $2699.
That's far from chump change. It's $700 more than the Roborock S8 Plus, which is itself $600 more than the standard Roborock S8. It's not quite as pricey as iRobot's top-of-the-line Roomba S9 Plus, but the premium here does put this ahead of everything and anything on the Ecovacs roster.
Simply put, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is not one for budget buyers. It might have every bell and whistle that you could want from a robot vacuum, but it's got the price to go with it. Still, you might be able to find some savings with the right retailer.
Check out the table below for a round-up of Roborock S8 Pro Ultra pricing in Australia.
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra - Design and features
Let's start with the basics. The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra doesn't try to reinvent the wheel regarding looks. It looks like most other robot vacuum cleaners in its weight class. It's disc-shaped. There's a set of cameras on the front, a nest of sensors on the top and Roborock's own DuoRoller Riser brush and VibraRise 2.0 mopping system on the underside.
Your mileage may vary, but I found the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra to be a little on the bulky side. At times, it almost seems like the dimensions here are 1.2 times the scale of its closest competition. Thankfully, that size does come with a few advantages.
The main one is that what's here is as comprehensive a kit as you'll find in the category. The laundry list of features here is borderline overkill. It feels like every possible bell and whistle has been stuffed into this thing. The only exception is Roborock's ReactiveAI Obstacle Avoidance tech, which can be found in the brand's other S8 robovacs but is absent here.
While the looks of the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra are fairly conventional, the tower-shaped docking station it ships with is a little more adventurous. It's larger than the parking bay-like docks of old, housing a trio of detachable compartments that partially enclose the S8 Pro Ultra during charging.
Each of these three boxes comes with its own handle and purpose. One deals with waste, the other supplies fresh water for the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra's onboard reservoir and the third is used to store dirty water that's sucked out of the S8 Pro Ultra post-clean.
Rather than leave the labour to you, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra empties itself after cleaning. This process is about as noisy as a traditional vacuum, but it's much less hands-on. You'll have to keep an eye on all three of the aforementioned containers as they fill up after a few cleaning cycles, but the process of dealing with each often feels more elegant compared to the ritualistic emptying of the dustbin of a more traditional vacuum.
For those who want to use the hardware here to the fullest, the Roborock app is the last piece of the puzzle. This software-based companion lets you tinker with the various settings of the S8 Pro Ultra, and tee up more specific routines when needed. You can set the robovac to automatically clean on a schedule or even clean specific zones within your home while leaving the rest undisturbed.
At a glance, you can see estimates for how long it'll take to clean a given area and check in on how the battery life is faring mid-clean. While I will never enjoy the fact that I have to create an account to actually use these functions, I will give credit where it's owed. The Roborock app is far from terrible. I'd go so far as to call it fairly intuitive and easy to navigate.
Most of the time, I was content to just hit the go button but whenever I needed a little more, the software side of things absolutely lived up to its end of the bargain. Getting to whatever setting or function I needed was never more than a few swipes or taps away.
Roborock S8 Pro Ultra - performance
Once you've unboxed and charged the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra up for the first time, all you need to do is hit the go button and it'll get right to work. If all you want is a thing you can set and forget, that's all you need to know. For those who want more, the aforementioned app is right there.
To cut the chase though, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is probably the best experience I've ever had with a robot vacuum cleaner. It was simple to set up, easy to rely on and, in most situations, capable enough that I didn't need to worry about it. I don't think it's a radical reinvention or game-changing elevation of the formula but it's a real standout on almost all the usual pain points.
When it came to vacuuming, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra performed exactly as you'd expect it would given the price. It quickly managed to cover off almost all of my apartment in a short amount of time and with results that I was happy with. I wouldn't say it was as spotless an end-state as you would get with a proper deep clean, but it was definitely noticeable.
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra did sometimes struggle with the corners of larger furniture. That's a drawback that those who have owned or used a robovac before might recognise. Still, I came away refreshingly impressed by its capacity for obstacle avoidance. While the occasional stray charging cable did end up snagged, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra did a much better job avoiding clutter and obstacles that might have tripped it up than any other robovac I've used to date.
That said, I was a little disappointed to see that it couldn't make it over small lips that seperate my bathroom and laundry from the rest of the other rooms in many apartment. It's not a huge incline and I can always invest in a some sort of ramp-based solution, but it was a bit disappointing to see the S8 Pro Ultra wasn't quite able to overcome this limitation.
As for mopping, I was mostly pleased with the results. However, I was often a little let down by how the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra fared when it came to stickier stains or spills. It definitely scrubbed over them but rarely managed to eliminate them outright. Even when toggled to the most intense mop setting or paired up with Roborock's own floor cleaning solution, I'd usually have to finish the job myself.
That's just about the only shortcoming here though, aside from the issues mentioned above regarding corners and lips. Even if I had to double-check its work from time to time, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is mostly as good as it needs to be at mopping. I have some feedback about the quality of its work, but it's hard to grumble too loudly when I factor in the sheer amount of time and effort that it saves on a regular basis.
According to the Roborock website, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is designed for homes of up to 300 square meters. That's about six times larger than the apartment I live in.
Safe to say, the 180 minutes of runtime that the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra touts per charge was more than enough to see things through. In action, a single clean with the robovac would usually work out to be around 1 minute per square meter.
For comparison, the Ecovacs Deebot X1 Omni touts 140 minutes of cleaning on a single charge while the Roomba S9+ is good for just 120. The bump to battery life here made it that much easier to leave the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra to its own devices.
Is Roborock S8 Pro Ultra worth buying?
The only thing that's not easy to love about the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is the price. If you can live with the cost involved however, the results and ease of use that come with this particular robovac are well worth it.
For those with larger flat spaces in their home, it'll absolutely do the trick. Those who live in a smaller residence will likely come away just as thrilled with the experience that the S8 Pro Ultra offers, though it may feel like overkill from time to time.
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra isn't perfect, but its hard to argue that the kitchen sink approach here isn't the next best thing.
How does Roborock S8 Pro Ultra compare?
Yes, with electric water flow and 1L water tank
360ml (2.1L in auto-empty bin)
Yes, with electric water flow and 200ml water tank
350ml (2.5L in auto-empty bin)
Yes, with electric water flow and 180ml water tank
420ml (2.5L in auto-empty bin)
Yes, 80ml tank with self-cleaning mop station
500ml (2.5L in auto-empty bin)
Yes, with vibrating mopping pad, carpet auto-lift and 300ml water tank
Yes, with electric water flow and vibrating mopping pad
Eufy RoboVac X8 Hybrid
Yes, with 250ml water tank