Most Powerful Robot Vacuum Yet, But Is It Good Enough? Roborock E35 Review
The Roborock Xiaowa E35 is an effective robot vacuum, but its inconsistent performance makes it hard to recommend at its price point.
If you’ve been skeptical of robot vacuums, you have every right to feel that way. While I’ve seen numerous robovacs in action over the years, this is the first time I was able to use one in my own home for over a week—and I have to say, I’m underwhelmed.
Which is a shame, because the Roborock Xiaowa E35 is great on paper. And it’s not like the Xiaowa E35 is bad, either. On the contrary, it’s more than capable, and I’m genuinely happy that this thing is now in my life. But I had high expectations that it failed to meet. Perhaps that’s on me.
Available for around $359, the Roborock Xiaowa E35 is a sweeper/mopper two-in-one with noteworthy specs and promising features. Here’s my experience with it and whether it’s worth the price.
Roborock Xiaowa E35: Specifications
- Physical dimensions: 13.8 x 13.8 x 3.5 inches (35 x 35 x 9 cm)
- Physical weight: 6.6 lbs (3 kg)
- Battery life: 150 minutes (5200 mAh)
- Charging time: 240 minutes
- Power consumption: 58 W
- Suction power: 2,000 Pa
- Noise level: 60 dB
- HEPA filter: Yes
- Dustbin capacity: 640 ml
- Wet mopping: Yes
- Water tank capacity: 150 ml
- Floor types: Low-pile carpet, medium-pile carpet, ceramic tile, marble tile, vinyl, laminate, linoleum, wood
- Notable features: Scheduling, mapping, remote control movement, cliff sensor, recharge and resume, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Roborock Xiaowa E35: What’s Included?
The Roborock Xiaowa E35’s box is big but mostly empty. Here’s what you get:
- E35 robot vacuum
- Charging dock + spalsh pad attachment
- Power cable
- Mopping attachment + water tank
- Cleaning brush + detangling cutter
- Spare dry filter + wet filter
Roborock Xiaowa E35: Design and Build Quality
The Roborock Xiaowa E35 is circular—standard fare for robot vacuums—but comes in a sleek space gray color with a darker outer ring, which looks modern and modest and fits well with any kind of interior styling.
Regarding the dark outer ring, the front half of it is a bumper sensor that’s used for detecting collisions and maneuvering around walls, chairs, tables, etc. It also has a built-in infrared decelerate sensor (causing it to slow down and be more careful when it detects that it’s near obstacles like walls) and four cliff sensors along the front half of its underside (preventing it from tumbling over edges and stairs).
There’s an omnidirectional wheel situated at the front, and that ensures its ability to turn and maneuver no matter what kind of mess it’s gotten itself into. A side brush near the front sticks out and spins so it can sweep debris away from walls and put them in the path of the main brush to roll over.
The 640 ml dustbin is large enough to last a week between emptying if scheduled to run daily, and the dustin supports a HEPA filter that not only catches all kinds of particulates but is easy to wash and reuse.
It also comes with an optional mopping attachment for hard floors, with a built-in water tank that holds up to 150 ml of water and doesn’t leak whether the vacuum is moving or stationary.
The Roborock Xiaowa E35’s build quality is satisfactory. It looks very light, but actually weighs close to 7 pounds, making it heavy enough to push light objects out of the way as it cleans. And never once did I feel like I’d damage the device when picking it up or interacting with it.
Again, all of this sounds good on paper, but the true test is how all of this performs in day-to-day cleaning.
Roborock Xiaowa E35: Usability and Performance
To set up the Roborock Xiaowa E35, you use the Mi Home mobile app and connect to the device via Bluetooth. While connected, you set up a connection to your router, and from then on it’s all driven by Wi-Fi.
Operating the robot vacuum is just as simple: the body has three buttons for Power, Recharge, and Spot Cleaning, but my preferred mode of operation is using the Mi Home app, which can handle everything you need save for turning it on/off.
The Roborock Xiaowa E35 has four cleaning power levels: Silent (700 Pa), Standard (1,000 Pa), Strong (1,400 Pa), and Max (2,000 Pa). At max power, it has the strongest suction power of any robot vacuum on the market. At 60 dB, it’s loud enough to startle my cat but nowhere near as loud as a normal vacuum cleaner.
Normal operation involves cleaning the entire house, traversing until there are no new areas to be found, then returning to the dock to recharge. The optional Spot Cleaning feature causes the robovac to clean in a 4-foot diameter square (1.2 meters) around its current location, meaning you’ll have to pick it up and place it where you want it to clean (or use the remote control to move it to its destination).
The thing about robot vacuums—this one included—is that they’re smart enough to clean, but not smart enough to clean up. You’ll need to do a bit of pre-cleaning (e.g. pick up clothes, tidy cables, make sure there are no stray obstacles) in order for the vacuum to do its thing to the fullest.
For the most part, the Roborock Xiaowa E35 cleans well. I was impressed by how much it collected in its first week, probably because it was able to get under my couch, bed, dresser, and all the other areas I overlook with a normal vacuum. With a height of 3.5 inches, it can go under most things with ease.
I found that it doesn’t completely suck up pet hair even at max power, especially on higher-pile carpeting. The device is only rated for low-pile and medium-pile carpets so I’m aware that this may be outside its operating specs, but it still leaves some hair behind on lower-pile carpeting. This is no different to all other robot vacuums, however.
Like most robot vacuums, the Roborock Xiaowa E35 also has trouble cleaning the bases of walls and corners. The main suction wheel doesn’t cover the full diameter of the device, so only areas where the center of the vacuum can pass over are able to be cleaned properly—even with the spinning side brush that sticks out. That side brush is designed to sweep particulates away from walls, but it doesn’t quite work that well.
The product boasts “intelligent path planning,” but I beg to differ. It simply goes line by line in a zig-zag pattern, bumping into obstacles and rerouting around them as necessary. Fortunately, the bumping isn’t hard enough to cause damage.
The Roborock Xiaowa E35 has a mapping feature, but I’m confused as to its purpose. It builds a live map that you can view in the mobile app as it cleans, but the map isn’t persistent; it restarts from scratch with subsequent cleanings. You can’t mark areas to avoid, you can’t create zones, and you can’t use the map to direct where the vacuum should go. As far as I can tell, it only exists to show you where it has gone during the current cleaning cycle. (To prevent the Roborock Xiaowa E35 from cleaning certain areas, you’ll need to buy some Roborock Magnetic Strip, which is a magnetic tape used to demarcate uncrossable boundaries.)
The product description says the Xiaowa E35 uses dual lasers and motion tracking sensors to calculate its direction and displacement so that its map position is always accurate even in complex homes…
…but in my experience, the device frequently drifts out of sync with the map. I’ve run a full cleaning of my apartment seven times so far and its location has de-synced all but one time, reporting itself as slightly off from where it actually was. It doesn’t really matter during cleaning, but proves problematic when the vacuum needs to navigate back to the charging dock—it can’t find its way back because it misjudges the physical layout of my apartment and gets stuck on walls. This usually occurs when small objects get stuck or tangled during cleaning, so you can reduce the chances of this happening by tidying up first–removing any dangling cables and such. Given enough time, it’ll eventually find its way back though. Just hope the battery doesn’t die first!
The robot vacuum is also supposed to be able to climb uneven surfaces up to 0.8 inches high (2 cm), and while it can do it at times, it’s inconsistent. Sometimes it rides over without a hitch, and other times it thinks it has run into a wall.
Fortunately, maintenance for the Roborock Xiaowa E35 is easy.
The dustbin is simple to remove and dump, and the HEPA filter washes in seconds. It comes with a detangling cutter that quickly cuts through any hair entangled on the main vacuum brush. Do it weekly and you’ll be good. Every month or so, you’ll also need to clean the side brush, the omnidirectional wheel, and the sensors.
As for battery life, it can supposedly run for up to 150 minutes on a single charge. My apartment is 650 sq. feet (60 sq. meters) and it can clean the whole unit in about an hour on max power and have about 50% battery remaining by the end.
Because of this, I wasn’t able to test the “recharge and resume” feature, which has the vacuum return to the charging dock when battery is low, recharges up to 80%, and resumes cleaning from where it stopped. But given the map de-syncing issues described above, I’m skeptical as to how well this feature would work in practice.
Mi Home App Control
The Roborock Xiaowa E35 uses the Mi Home app for configuring and controlling the device. In addition to robot settings, notable features include:
Live map viewing, which was covered above. It’s nifty on paper but offers no practical use beyond novelty at this point. Perhaps a future firmware update will add new functionality that makes it worthwhile.
Timer cleanings, which is the most useful bit. You can schedule it to automatically run on certain days of the week, at a specific time, at a specific power level. You can create multiple schedules and toggle them on/off as needed.
Remote control, which is the second most useful bit. By tapping buttons on screen, you can tell the vacuum to rotate either direction and move forward, which is a handy way to get it out of trouble if it gets stuck or can’t find its way back to the charging dock.
Online firmware upgrades are the saving grace of this device. If Roborock can release a few strong firmware updates in the near future, this robot vacuum could easily go from being a “good” option to a “great” one.
Voice assistant integration with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Naver Clova. I wasn’t able to test any of these, but from what I understand, the available commands are limited as of this writing.
Roborock Xiaowa E35: Final Thoughts
All in all, the Roborock Xiaowa E35 is great when it works—but it doesn’t always work as intended, particularly with regard to pathing. It’s those performance inconsistencies that keep it from being a great robot vacuum.
At $359, it’s tough to recommend because there are alternatives that perform just as well for less, and the extra bells and whistles aren’t enough to justify the difference. However, if you can get it at a discount or if you have money to burn, it’s easy to use, it cleans well, and it certainly gets the job done.