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Hands on: Roborock S8 Pro Ultra smart home vacuum & mop

The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra docked

The recently-announced Roborock S8 Pro Ultra robotic smart home vacuum and mop is a great tool to automatically clean your house, and works with Siri Shortcuts. Here's a first look.

The S8 lineup includes three models of the smart home vacuum. You can choose the S8 for $749 with a normal charging dock, the S8+ for $999 with an auto-emptying dock, or the S8 Pro Ultra for $1,599 with the RockDock.

After happily recommending the S7 MaxV Ultra, the previous high-end unit from Roborock, we were eager to test the S8 Pro Ultra — the new champ.

Cleaning laminate flooring
Cleaning laminate flooring

This full-featured vacuum can vacuum and mop your whole home, and empty out the dustbin automatically before having the mop washed and dried — all without your intervention.

A notable upgrade

Roborock has packed the upgrades in for the S8 line, not even a year after the launch of the flagship S7 MaxV Ultra. We see new benefits incorporated for both the robot and the docking station — now called the RockDock.

Beginning with the robot, the new S8 has increased suction power, growing from 5,100 Pa to 6,000 Pa — nearly a 20 percent boost. It also has a new set of dual rolling brushes.

Upgraded rollers
Upgrading rising rollers

The brushes roll in opposite directions to help prevent entanglement from hair, and so far in our testing, this seems to be the case. When in mopping mode, the rollers will now lift.

As with the S7 series, the S8 mop pad comes off for additional cleaning, but the fixture is a permanent attachment. As an upgrade, Roborock has added a second vibration motor to improve the scrubbing ability.

Here in Ohio, we track plenty of salt into the house during the winter months, and as it dried on the textured laminate flooring, it proved challenging for some robotic mops to tackle. In our tests, while not perfect, the second motor has notably increased its performance here.

One thing that got removed with this upgrade is the remote viewing option. Some may find this beneficial if they don't want a mobile camera driving through their home, but it is also a step back for those who use this feature.

If you want this feature, you can pick up the S7 MaxV Ultra, which does have a new drying module to make it similar to the new RockDock.

Speaking of which, the RockDock empty, wash, fill docking station got redesigned. We love the new white colorway that has a much more modern look.

S7 MaxV Ultra versus S8 Pro Ultra
S7 MaxV Ultra versus S8 Pro Ultra

Compared to the S7 MaxV Ultra dock, the front is almost entirely covered, yielding a cleaner aesthetic. The water and dust bins sit at the top, and the robot will dock at the bottom, where it gets cleaned, emptied, and charged.

The new model is a bit larger than the last-gen as Roborock increased the capacity for the clean and dirty water tank. They've moved from 3 to 3.5 liters and 2.5 to 2.9 liters, respectively.

S8 Pro Ultra bins
S8 Pro Ultra bins

With the redesign, Roborock has made it much easier to empty and refill those water tanks. The lids only go halfway, and the handles have moved to the opposite side.

After months of using the S7 MaxV Ultra, the new water tanks are a well-warranted and welcomed change we'd hoped for.

The final new addition to the S8 Pro Ultra is a heated fan that blows warm air on the mop pad, helping dry it and squash any bacteria growth. This is what led to smells on the last-generation unit.

A few quick tests

We have a wide assortment of test scenarios to throw at the S8 Pro Ultra in our home. We have hardwood floors, laminate flooring, high-pile carpets, rugs, several pets, and a baby with toys everywhere.

It's a lot for the robot to traverse, yet it did so effortlessly. While we ran the vacuum, we saw new options enabled for the app, like a fast routing mode to go quicker.

Vacuuming carpet with the S8 Pro Ultra
Vacuuming carpet with the S8 Pro Ultra

During its run, it identified different objects it ran across, like shoes, surge protectors, and even a pile of faux dog poo we placed. These images get processed onboard with its built-in Ai engine.

As with the S7, the mop lifts as it goes over the carpet but doesn't lift quite enough if you have a shaggy rug or plush carpet. We could see the mop as it drug across our one carpet, though it wasn't left wet.

The increased suction, while nice to have, wasn't all that useful. This Max+ power drained the battery quicker, which wasn't ideal for whole-home cleaning.

The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra
The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra

This new model does charge faster, so it did take less time to complete a thorough clean.

Available soon

The S8 Pro Ultra will be available to order in late April. It will set you back $1,599 at full MSRP, though Roborock occasionally runs deals.

AppleInsider will be reviewing the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra in full in the future.