Roborock S8 Pro Ultra review: We tested the $1,600 robot vacuum to see if it’s worth it
16 mins read

Roborock S8 Pro Ultra review: We tested the $1,600 robot vacuum to see if it’s worth it


Over the course of my time at Mashable, I’ve been obsessed with finding a robot vacuum that performs actual magic on carpets and bare floors — but maybe not as (healthily) obsessed as our in-house vacuum aficionado/expert Leah Stodart. I’ve been particularly intrigued by the elusive robovac category know as “hybrids,” which are essentially mop-and-vac combos that take two of the most dreaded household chores off your to-do list.

As often happens in life, products (and people, cough cough) that promise too much end up providing less-than-satisfactory results. This includes hybrid robot vacuums that often end up sacrificing mopping ability for powerful vacuum suction, or vice versa. No future robot vacuum buyer wants to cheat themselves out of spotless floors by investing in an underperforming item, which is why I took it upon myself to test the most expensive and the most intelligent Roborock vacuum you can buy right now. Enter: The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra.

The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra photographed from a sligh elevation, showing the actual robot and its dock

This Roborock has a pretty sleek and minimalistic design, albeit a bulky base.
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

Roborock, a mainstay brand in the robot vacuum industry, unveiled a new S8 product series back in April 2023. The hype around the S8 Pro Ultra was especially strong, but we take all such internet hype with a fat grain of salt.

That’s why, high Amazon rating notwithstanding, I decided to see for myself whether the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra pampered 1,300 square feet of my floor with flawless results or whether it made me retrace all of its steps with a dustpan and broom in hand. Here’s what followed (dramatic Morgan Freeman voice).

In-app features are stunning, but setup was a chore

As with most robovacs, to get the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra up and running you have to connect it to the Roborock app (available on Android and iOS) via a series of intricate, ancient rituals (read: either scanning the QR code on the vac itself or pairing your phone and vac to the same WiFi network). I went with the latter method since, for the life of me, I couldn’t find the QR code on my new Roborock.

Attaining a solid WiFi connection was a process that involved a lot of loading and buffering. This is where I docked a few points in the S8 Pro Ultra’s user friendliness category. After this speed bump, however, the rest of the setup process was way smoother.

My parents already programmed the vac with their own Roborock app before I even laid my hands on it, which meant that, once I was connected to the item on my app, I saw our full first floor map right in the center of the screen. Roborock seamlessly transfers floor map data between different accounts for the same vacuum — definitely a time-saver worthy of some appreciation.

While we’re on the topic of floor maps, it took the Roborock an alarmingly short amount of time to maneuver around 1,300 square feet of my floors for the first time ever and absorb the findings — just 10 minutes. Let me put this metric in perspective. When I tested out the Yeedi Mop Station, I wrote the following about its mapping time: It took the vacuum “more than a day to run its course multiple times around the rooms and get a visual of their full layout. In other words, the vac started this procedure around 4 p.m., got tired, docked, and only finished the job at hand by midday the next day.” Yeah, major props to the Roborock for doing it at record-breaking speeds and never once getting fatigued.

Screenshot of the map layout created by the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra that the author tested

The layout of my first floor living area that Roborock successfully (and speedily!) mapped.
Credit: Screenshot: Roborock

In-app screenshot of the vacuum's mop wash frequency settings

Just one example of how personalizable the vac’s in-app settings are.
Credit: Screenshot: Roborock

The Roborock app interface itself was sleek and clean compared to other ones I’ve familiarized myself with in the past. Nonetheless, getting the vacuum to actually start a cleaning job wasn’t as simple as I hoped it would be — due to the sheer amount of settings and options offered by Roborock. Did I want to turn on “less collision” mode to foresee walls and furniture in advance? Would a standard cleaning route versus a zig-zag one be better? How frequently did I want the S8 Pro Ultra to wash its mop… or did I wish for it to do so after each room?

Once I was more “fluent” in the functions of this vac, such intricate and intimate features were a godsend, but, in the beginning, it was all a bit too much to take in.

High-tech cleaning options provided not-so-high-tech results

The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra allows you to choose from room by room, zone by zone, all-over clean, or even spot clean options. The latter turned out to be redundant because of how imprecise it is — when I tried to navigate the vac to a particular “trouble area” by tapping my finger on its approximate location in the app, the vacuum missed the spot by a few inches. For the most part, I stuck with the all-over clean option: a really stress-free way of cleaning your entire space, especially since the vac empties itself automatically.

I also attempted to control the vacuum manually (as if in a video game) through the remote control setting, which allows you to move the bot via buttons or a joystick-esque controller. Feeling like the Roborock’s puppeteer was slightly disconcerting, and it turned out that this feature is hella undercooked — the vacuum would only move forward and to the right. Backwards and to the left were out of the question. No deal.

Though I didn’t fiddle with these settings myself, Roborock also gives the option of creating certain “no-go zones,” which are ideal for pet households and maximalists with a ton of furniture. Additionally, you can customize floor surface on the app (choosing from carpet, tile, something called “entrapping threshold,” and more).

No other robot vacuum I’ve tested in the past gave such massive DIY privileges to its users, so I was thoroughly impressed at first blush. I personally chose to set my mop wash frequency to 20 minutes, the washing mode to “balanced” (which the Roborock app said was suitable for medium-sized homes), scrub intensity/water flow to “intense,” and suction power to “turbo” (the second highest and thus second loudest suction level). This isn’t a strict recipe — the benefit of this Roborock is that it fits the needs of your household.

Despite the plethora of cool cleaning options Roborock serves up on a platter, quantity overshadowed quality in this case. In other words, I didn’t see a major difference between cleaning with carpet suction boosting powers on versus off (or else cleaning with “clean along floor direction” on rather than allowing the vac to, literally, go against the grain).

Screenshot of the S8 Pro Ultra's spot clean option

The S8 Pro Ultra has a spot clean option.
Credit: Screenshot: Roborock

Screenshot of the S8 Pro Ultra's joystick control option

You can even control it via joystick (kinda).
Credit: Screenshot: Roborock

When it came to vacuuming up messes, the S8 Pro Ultra ate and left crumbs

If you’ve read any of my past robovac reviews (don’t tell me, I don’t want to know), you’re familiar with the Graham Cracker Test I carry out (patent pending) to test the products’ vacuuming capabilities. The test essentially revolves around crushing up graham crackers that are past their s’mores prime and scattering them in key areas of the house: In this case a thick carpet, a thin floor mat, around the leg of a side table, and along the edge of a hardwood floor. The next part is monitoring my dog so that he doesn’t gobble up the crackers and also seeing whether the vacuum will pick up all crumbs during its cleaning.

Pictures speak louder than words, or however that saying goes, so take a look at the before/after results for a sense of how the S8 Pro Ultra performed on the test:

Collage of four pictures showing crumbs on various floor types, with the word "before" overlaid in all caps

Graham Cracker Test (before cleaning).
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

Collage of four pictures showing remaining crumbs on various floor types, with the word "after" overlaid in all caps

Graham Cracker Test (after cleaning).
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

Yeah, clearly it didn’t do so hot (especially when it came to vacuuming around the leg of the table and the edge of my thin floor mat). Now, was this experiment representative of a real-life scenario? Probably not, as you’re unlikely to leave such precise messes and such big crumbs while going about your daily activities. But anything can happen, and the S8 Pro Ultra proved that it’s not necessarily ready to handle that “anything” when it comes up.

I’m a tough grader, but I do give credit where credit is due, so I have to applaud the amount of dust particles, hair, debris, and other unsavory molecules that the vacuum did suck up over the course of my time using it. After five days of collecting gunk through once or twice-a-day cleanings, this is what I found in its dustbin:

The author's picture of what remained in the vacuum's dustbin after five days of cleaning

Pardon the dust. Literally.
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

Those are tangible (and allergy-inducing) results right there — irrefutable evidence of the fact that the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra doesn’t just fake cleanings. It might not swoop up all the crumbs on your floor, but your space is undoubtedly made cleaner thanks to its hard work. Maybe the Roborock’s DuoRoller brush is responsible for this achievement. The brand advertises it as a brush that “will spin in opposite directions, which can improve the pick up of hairs on carpet and avoid tangled hairs… with an increased grip strength for carpet cleaning, floors, and any other surfaces.”

Though I did have to rescue the brush after parts of a plant got stuck in it (and got damaged as a result, which I will mourn forever), I never had to untangle any yucky hairs as per Roborock’s promise. Count your blessings, people.

Spotty mopping was compensated for by self-refilling tank and self-washing/drying mop pads

As I mentioned earlier, it’s very rare that a robot vacuum (even one that costs over $1,000!) is able to provide A+ vacuuming and mopping at the same time. One function usually takes a backseat while the other rides shotgun, and it was no different with this Roborock.

When I ran it on vac and mop mode, it didn’t do the latter part very well — the areas that it did mop were mopped well, but it also missed a bunch of spots on my bare hardwood floors for no particular reason. I will say that the dynamic lift setting soothed my heart with the knowledge that, when the vacuum detects a carpeted surface, it lifts its mop pads and stops water flow. Soaked rugs are not a vibe, so this was a positive.

Other points to include on Roborock’s list of positives: its self-refilling water tank and self-washing/drying mop pads, which actually wash themselves well. After just one full auto/all-over clean, the dirty water tank (the S8 Pro Ultra also has a clean water tank that you’re responsible for replenishing) was dirty. We’re talking mucky-gray, I-must-empty-this-out-now-before-I-throw-up dirty, which is proof positive that the vac cleans its pads effectively for future mopping rounds.

The vacuum's two water tanks — one for dirty water and one for clean water

The vac’s base has two tanks, and it self-refills with clean water.
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

Picture of the vac's dirty water tank after a mopping session

The water inside the vac’s dirty water tank was sufficiently dirty.
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

BTW, besides self-refilling, washing, and drying, this vacuum also self-empties after each cleanup — you don’t have to worry about replacing its dust bag for up to seven (!!) weeks. This timespan pretty much checks out, given the contents of the dust bag that revealed themselves when I peeked into it after five days. However, after those seven weeks, you do have to buy a new bag from Roborock (six dust bags at the retailer will cost you a whopping $31.99 and the price stays the same when shopping for them via Amazon). Regularly having to invest in accessory replacements is how they get ya, but buying the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is already a sunk cost. You might as well treat your new helper to the very best.

Battery life is similar to most higher-end robovacs on the market; price is unnecessarily high

To track the S8 Pro Ultra’s battery life, I started running it on the vac and mop setting at 1 p.m. (fully charged) and monitored how long it took the vacuum to run out of juice/run back to its home base for a recharge. It ended up doing so at 3:50 p.m., which means it has a battery life of approximately two hours 50 minutes. This checks out with the 180 minute runtime Roborock promises.

For reference, other hybrids that I tested — primarily, the Yeedi Vac Station and Yeedi Mop Station — had runtimes of up to 200 minutes and 144 minutes, respectively. This means that the S8 Pro Ultra is not performing battery miracles, but it’s certainly not an outlier based on how frequently it needs recharging, either.

Now that we’ve thrown potential competition into the mix, it’s time to get down to the juicy stuff: How does the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra compare to other vacuums, and is it worth paying an MSRP price of $1,599.99? (Though it’s frequently $400 off at Roborock and Amazon.)

The Roborock S8 Pro Ultra "hiding" among planters and plants in a living room setting

My Roborock looking all shiny, new, and overpriced.
Credit: Stacia Datskovska / Mashable

The S8 Pro Ultra might be loaded with tons of perks that other robovacs don’t even dream of having (like 6,000 pascals of suction power, a PreciSense LiDAR Navigation system that allows it to work at night while you sleep, and more), but its actual performance doesn’t justify jolting your savings account like that.

After all, even comparable robovacs from Roborock’s S8 series — like the S8+ hybrid, which our reviewer Timothy Beck Werth awarded with a ~Werthy~ Mashable score of 4.4 — cost no more than $999.99. If the only added benefits the S8 Pro Ultra brings are self-washing and self-drying mop pads, then… it’s not really worth it. The Yeedi Mop Station Pro, after all, (though not as new and shiny and cool as the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra) has self-washing pads, too, and doesn’t charge over $799.99 for all of its features combined.

If you have bucketloads of money to blow, you might want to invest in this high-end robot vacuum. If, however, your New Year’s resolution is saving some dinero, the Roborock S8 Pro Ultra is just not worth the splurge.





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