Just about everyone wants a cleaner place and to do less work to keep it that way. If you have an entry-level Roomba tidying up after you, the collision detection, carpet boost, and auto-emptying dock of the Roborock Q5+ is the affordable upgrade your floors need.

How Clean Are the Specs and Performance?

The first thing you do after setting up and running an autonomous vacuum robot is watch it with wonder and judgement. “Will it clean that up?” “Did it get stuck?” “Is it going to empty correctly?” Usually, you can make your assessment of the bot pretty quickly. Here’s mine for the Q5+: this vacuum is amazing, almost.

Setting up the auto-emptying dock was a breeze with the included quick start guide, and once you plug it in and pair the vacuum with your phone’s Roborock app (available for iPhone and Android),  you’re ready to go. Greeted with a pleasant startup jingle upon turning it on, your Q5+ stands at the ready, waiting for you to send it off to clean via the app or a quick press of the power button.

Rather than helplessly slamming into walls and spinning in circles, the Q5+ uses LiDAR and cliff sensors to effectively navigate your home. Now, that’s not to say it never bumps into anything, but I never feared damage to my walls, pets, or furniture. The Q5+ maps your home as it cleans, helping the robot traverse future runs and creating 2D and 3D models you can see in your Roborock app (more on this later).

The suction power clocks in at 2700Pa, which if you’re like me, doesn’t mean much at face value. Here’s what it means practically: the Q5+ is capable of comfortably and reliably vacuuming up pet hair, dust, dirt, small leaves, crumbs, and just about anything else you’d expect a handheld vacuum to pick up. It does a solid job cleaning fabric like bathroom rugs, but you may want to have the Q5+ run a few cycles to make sure they’re as tidy as you want them.

Hardwood, vinyl, and tile flooring will see very few problems with the Roborock Q5+. Carpeting and rugs are largely the same story—unless, like me, you have a shag rug. In that case, the rubber bristle brush, usually a great strength of the Q5+, becomes its incapacitating downfall. Normally, it constantly spins 360 degrees, sweeping dust and debris into the vacuum to make sure it doesn’t miss a spot. However, when the fabric of a shag rug tangles around the rubber bristles, the Q5+ comes to a screeching halt.

With that said, if you don’t have a shag rug or something similar, this won’t be a problem for you and the Q5+ will likely never get stuck while cleaning your floors. Unfortunately, something you likely do have are cords and loose fabrics (the towel under my dog’s water bowl, for instance). These absolutely must be picked up before running the Q5+ if you don’t want to run the very real risk of them being sucked in.

One more thing to look out for if you have pets is hair wrapping around the rolling brush. You’ll definitely want to clean it out now and again to make sure things run smoothly.

This is why I say the Roborock Q5+ is almost amazing. For the most part, you turn it on and let it clean, which works flawlessly. But, you have some babysitting to do every time you want to run the robot in the form of pick up and cleanout duty. This can be offset by No-Go Zones and Invisible Walls in the Roborock app, but it’s not foolproof and may leave some areas that you want cleaned completely untouched.

Battery Life and Noise Level

The 5200mAh battery has some life to it. The Q5+ can complete about three full cleans of my (albeit quaint) apartment without needing a charge. Even better news: the Q5+ automatically detects low battery levels and drives itself to the charging dock before dying, all without you having to lift a finger. It’s as convenient as it sounds.

The noise level is generally much lower than that of a handheld vacuum, clocking in at around 61 decibels on average when vacuuming—about as loud as an AC blowing cool air or having a conversation with a friend. It gets much louder when emptying into the dust bin, though, racking up a score of around 82 decibels, about the equivalent of a loud kitchen blender. Thankfully, emptying the vacuum bag takes less than 20 seconds.

Auto-Emptying and Charging Dock

The auto-emptying and charging dock is a huge plus for this autonomous vacuum. Normally, you’d have to deal with hunting down your robot for charging and dust bin clearing, but not with the Q5+. Instead, aside from the aforementioned babysitting, you can set it and forget it.

The dock features a low-profile design that blends into your home if you find the right spot for it. You’ll need some clearance on either side as well as in front of the dock, and it needs to be within close proximity to a power outlet. Other than that, there’s not much you need to do maintenance-wise other than keep an eye on the 2.5-liter dustbag and change it out when it fills up (Roborock recommends replacing it every 7 weeks).

User Experience: Voice and Button Controls

This robot is easy to use. You have two physical buttons on the bot, Power and Dock. Long press the Power button to turn the vacuum on and off and quickly press it to start a full clean (quick press it while cleaning to pause). A quick press of the Dock button sends the Q5+ off to the dock for charging.

The voice alerts coming from the Q5+ notify you about power and charging status, intent to clean, intent to return to the dock and empty into the dustbin, and everything else you may need a quick voice confirmation for. If you want to turn it down or off completely, or select a new language, you can do so in the Roborock app settings.

Software: The Brains of the Operation

The Roborock app (available for iPhone and Android) is impressively comprehensive, though a little confusing to find what you want at times.

After pairing the device with your phone, you can enter the app where you’ll be met with a blank canvas until your Q5+ maps the area. Once it does, you’ll have access to a 2D and 3D model of your home. Here, you can track where the robot has vacuumed and the pattern it followed while cleaning.

You can also add No-Go Zones which prevent the robot from cleaning the specified area. These work pretty intuitively once you get your bearings on the digital map. Similarly, you can separate rooms and zones to specify where you want the robot to clean. Say you only want a quick sweep of the living room before guests arrive, but you don’t want it to run a full home clean—no problem at all. You can even specify a schedule of times for the robot to begin cleaning automatically.

If you want to choose an area to spot clean (a five square meter radius targeted clean), place a pin on the map from Pin n Go and watch the Q5+ hop to it. This is useful for cleaning up under a table after meals, or around the front door after walking in from a day outside.

The last method of controlling the robot is by far the most fun: remote control. You can use your phone to pilot the robot remotely, eliminating dust wherever you so desire. It’s a little slow to respond so I didn’t use it much, but it’s an interesting feature to make small positioning changes.

If you want to see how your Q5+ is fairing physically, check the Maintenance tab and get some answers. Here you’ll see reports on brushes, sensors, filters, and the dust bag.

Roborock did well in this category, creating an app that has everything you need for your robot vacuum wrapped up with an aesthetically pleasing bow.

Should You Buy the Roborock Q5+?

Ultimately, if you want an autonomous robotic vacuum for a tidier home, the Q5+ is an excellent option. At the crossroads of affordability and functionality, Roborock’s Q5+ is a must-own for anyone who doesn’t have a shag rug or wants something more from their cleaning bot, like mopping (as seen in the S7 MaxV Ultra edition). The Q5+ is available for $699.99, a reasonable price to pay for the replacement of year-round vacuuming.