The RCV 5 performs well overall, has a modern navigation system with obstacle detection and is easy to use. We like the clear app and the ability to customise the map. However, it’s too expensive compared to competitors.
Kärcher is not resting on its laurels. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to test one of the manufacturer’s new air purifiers, now I have the pleasure of testing another new product from the same company: the RCV 5 robot vacuum cleaner.
A robot vacuum cleaner from Kärcher? Yes, the brand’s product portfolio will be broadened considerably in 2023 and it will soon be associated with more product categories than high-pressure cleaners and heavy-duty vacuum cleaners.
The robot vacuum cleaner follows the same colour scheme as Kärcher’s air purifiers and comes in white, as opposed to the characteristic yellow we’ve come to expect from the manufacturer’s more ‘traditional’ products.
Stylish? I’ll leave it to others to decide, but the quality is quite good and all removable parts (mopping unit, dust container, brush roller) easily click into place with a perfect fit.
Installation is relatively quick; you use the dedicated app to connect the vacuum cleaner to your home network, which then updates it with the latest firmware. Then it’s time for a quick round, without cleaning, to map the home via a laser-based navigation system.
The key here is to clear the area as much as you can to make the journey easier and to get the most accurate map possible.
App and performance
Three cleaning modes
Editable map in app
Obstacle avoidance hit and miss
The app is very easy to use. Once the mapping is complete, you can edit the home and name the different rooms, add virtual walls and different types of no-go zones. You can also customise the cleaning (suction power and amount of water for mopping) as well as choose between three different cleaning modes: vacuuming, mopping or a combination of these.
The robot uses laser sensors and a camera in the front to detect and avoid small objects (such as shoes, socks and cables) and it works most of the time. I tested it by placing a power cable and a pair of headphones on the floor. It spotted the cable (and showed it on the map as an obstacle) and smoothly avoided it – but the headphones were sucked up without any concern.
When it comes to vacuuming, the RVC 5 performs really well on the whole, covering room after room systematically and relatively quickly. Like virtually all robot vacuum cleaners, it misses some dirt in corners and the simpler mopping unit should be seen as a complementary part for even more effective dust collection rather than a stain remover.
There’s no lack of accessibility and, apart from the headphone blunder, it effectively avoids common obstacles on the floor surface as well as detecting and avoiding mopping carpets.
To see our most recommended robot vacuums, have a look at our round-up of the best robot vacuum cleaners we’ve tested.
Model: RCV 5 Manufacturer: Kärcher Battery: 5,200mAh Runtime: Up to 120 min Suction: Up to 5,000 Pa Dust bin: 0.33 litres Water tank: 0.24 litres Mapping: Laser (LiDAR) Communication: Wifi Associated app: Yes Map function: Yes Room division : Yes Compatible with Google Assistant/Amazon Alexa/Apple Siri: no/no/no Robot dimensions: 350 x 350 x 97mm
This article was first published in Sweden’s M3 and has been translated for Tech Advisor.