Best robot mop reviews
Every few months, a new robot mop makes its way on to the market making your purchasing process more difficult. Fortunately, we have done the research for you. After reviewing four of the top-rated selections out there, our recommendation for the top mopping robot is the Braava Jet 240!
In comparison to other top-rated mopping robot devices, the Braava Jet 240 offers a healthy balance of must-have features. A lighter and more affordable machine, the Braava Jet 240 may be a louder choice at 70 db, but it is the best choice for the average household. The larger tank, three floor mopping and sweeping program combinations, and longer than average battery life make this featherweight the most efficient machine for every day mopping chores.
A Comparison to the competition
So, what competition was the Braava Jet 240 up against? We chose three other top-ranking mopping robots to test in addition to the Braava Jet 240. We based our selections on feedback from previous purchas
The Braava 380t was released in August of 2013 and yet it remains a hugely favored mopping robot among users. Unlike the Braava Jet 240, the Braava 380t is a larger machine with a puzzlingly small capacity of just 4 oz. (compared to the 10 oz. capacity of the Braava Jet 240). With a span of three years between the release of these two robot mops, however, it is hardly surprising that the 380t seems a little outdated.
Outdated is perhaps the wrong term to go with when referring to the Braava 380t, though. The 380t is more of a moderately successful prototype and we have to wonder if those who favor it are simply too afraid to try something new. It could be that they heard the horror stories from neighbors of those who tried the Scooba 450 (more on that later.)
But how does the 380t compare to the Jet 240? A pound heavier, more expensive, 7 oz. less capacity, and reliance on a navigation cube to plan cleaning space, the 380t reminded us of the single IBM computer that sat in the back of every classroom decades ago. It got the job done, but compared to the computers of today…well, let’s just say, eventually those who are still using the 380t are going to realize that floppy disks are no longer “where it’s at”.
Are there any redeeming features to the 380t that give it a chance against the much newer, higher capacity Jet 240? Surprisingly, yes. The 380t is 30 decibels quieter than the Jet 240. Yes, you read that correctly. The 380t receives our nod of recognition for our being able to hold a conversation while it rolls around doing it’s AI thing. The 380t also deserves a second nod for it’s cleaning capacity. Unlike the Jet 240 which has 150 sq. ft. mopping coverage, the 380t is able to cover more than twice that at 350 sq. ft. Plus, we noticed that the mapping pattern of the 380t by virtue of the navigation cube that comes with it meant that the 380t didn’t leave ANY dingy spots on the floors at all.
So, isn’t the Braava 380t a better choice than the Braava Jet 240, all things considered? We don’t think so. The Jet may be louder than the 380t and it may cover less area and leave the occasional dingy spot on the floor, but it still comes out ahead. Where does it come out ahead, we hear you ask?
Unlike the 380t, the Jet 240 offers three cleaning options – mopping, sweeping, and damp sweeping. This alone puts the Jet 240 ahead of the game because it means that you don’t have to run a complete mop cycle if it’s not necessary. This comes in handy for wet stains that haven’t set yet and it results in a much quieter cleaning experience. There is also the matter of the precision jet spray and vibrating cleaning head on the Jet 240. In our experience, these features mean cleaner floors even if a small spot or two is missed during each cleaning cycle.
There may be some benefits to the 380t, such as longer battery life for mopping cycles and large square footage cover, but we’d rather go with the Jet 240 that gets a better clean. We’re pretty sure that’s what mopping robots should be all about…
The most recent of the mopping robots we considered in our comparison, the Braava Jet 240 was released around March 2016. The Braava Jet followed the Scooba 450 model from iRobot – a version we had vast experience with personally.
At the time of its release, the Scooba 450 was the “it” thing, a large and in charge floor mopping machine and we liked it, we really did. At least, we liked it until it lodged itself in hard to get out of crevices EVERY TIME WE USED IT. The blessing in the Scooba 450, however, was that it had an extremely short battery life. This meant that even when the beast got stuck between the toilet and the sink, it would hum loudly for no more than 35 minutes or so. Still, when you have a neighbor drop by for a cup of coffee, it can be particularly disconcerting for them to hear repetitive banging or loud buzzing coming from the closed bathroom door.
Anyway, back to the point…
Although the tank capacity of the Braava Jet 240 is considerably less than the Scooba we used to run – 15 oz. less to be exact – it is also more than a few hundred dollars cheaper. More importantly, the Jet 240 is also still being sold. Unfortunately, the Scooba 450 has been retired by iRobot, we can only assume it is the afore mentioned neighbors dropping by and making assumptions…but we could be wrong.
No longer being supported and still holding an expensive price tag, the Scooba 450 is a less than optimal choice for the average home. Compare that to the much lower price tag of the Jet 240 and the Jet’s three times longer battery life and, well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the Jet is going to win out.
But how about performance? After all, we loved the Scooba 450’s unique brush scrubbing motion that did a great job on muddy paw prints in the foyer and the squeegee dry feature (even if it didn’t always do the best job at drying the floors.) Well, the Braava Jet 240 has a vibrating cleaning head which actually cleaned those muddy pawprints just as well as the scrubbing brush on the Scooba. Plus, the Scooba never sent our dog skidding across a slightly too damp floor after it was finished.
Yes, the Jet has a much smaller tank, but in comparison, it is laying down much less water when it cleans the floor, so it doesn’t require such a large capacity. Plus, the lack of a large tank full of dirty water means that the Jet can dock itself after it has finished cleaning. The Jet does not require emptying before it can dock and charge. Why is this a good thing? Because if you are like someone we know and you forget to empty and charge the Scooba, you don’t end up with a filthy floor and a dead battery the morning before a certain someone’s boss is coming to dinner…
So, if the Scooba 450 hadn’t been discontinued would we still have picked the Braava Jet 240? Well, the Jet does have a smaller cleaning capacity in terms of square footage and it doesn’t always do as thorough a job when mopping tough sticky stains. Are these drawbacks worth trading for the bulky “someone might have been murdered in my neighbor’s bathroom, but I’m not really sure” Scooba 450? No. The Jet 240 has all of the features that the Scooba 450 was missing – auto-home, cliff detection, pads that can be washed and replaced, and best of all, it doesn’t wedge itself inconveniently in bathrooms.
Released in the market in January 2015, the ILive V5 was marketed as the more affordable mopping robot solution. Just two months later the Braava Jet was released at a slightly higher, yet comparable price point. Still, ILive continued to hinge their marketing campaign on the affordability of their machine.
The iLive V5 concerned us from the minute we set eyes on it. Was it lingering trepidation from the low pricetag? After all, we all know that cheaper products are never better…don’t we? Then again, it could have been that the manual was written in broken English…
Yes, we are quite aware that the manual of a product has nothing to do with the performance of the product itself, but an “English manual” in broken English is not particularly reassuring either. What if the thing broke and we needed to troubleshoot? More concerning than this, however, is the rather vague “how to” instructions on using the iLive. For example, the iLive IS a mopping robot with an auto-home feature, however, the auto-home feature should not be used with the mopping feature…
This confusion aside, the iLive V5 doesn’t get much better when it comes to performance. The budget mopper doesn’t feature any virtual walls which means that, like Marvel’s master of mischief, Loki, it does what it wants. Yes, it goes in to any area of your home that it pleases and there’s not a thing you can do about it short of building a barricade. Amusingly, although we found that this little rebel had a mind of its own when it came to accessing areas of the house, it then became completely helpless once it accessed them and lodged itself anywhere and everywhere it could. This happened so much, in fact, that we suggest that the iLive V5 should come with a helper robot designed to get it “unstuck”…maybe call it the “Thor”?
Criticisms of form and autonomy aside, how did little Loki AKA the iLive V5 measure up to the Braava Jet 240 in terms of function? Well, in the few times that the iLive V5 was actually moving and not relegating itself to the corner like a naughty schoolchild, it was a mediocre cleaner. The floors certainly looked better than had we used nothing at all, but follow up the iLive with the Jet 240 and the difference in cleanliness speaks for itself.
Honestly, we could spend time going over the specs and how these two machines compare, but it’s just not worth your time. Unless you are looking for a robot mop that you’ll need to put on a leash to actually get the job done, run away from the iLive V5 as fast as humanly possible.
The Big Picture
The Braava Jet 240 is an affordable mopping robot without the questionable quality that comes with the iLive V5. Despite being louder than the Braava 380t and having a smaller tank capacity than the Scooba 450, it offers much more comprehensive floor cleaning options. With the ability to sweep up debris before either damp mopping or mopping the floor, the Jet 240 does more than just move dust bunnies around. As an added benefit, this means less scooping out wet pet hair and other grossness when you go to clean out the robot after use.
The Braava Jet 24o has all of the basic features needed of any mopping robot – cliff detect, navigation that creates boundaries for areas of the home, and an auto-home feature. These features don’t come at the cost of comparable machines, however, and while the disposable pads may create added cost, the multi-function cleaning operation of the Jet 240 cuts down on replacement intervals by removing debris via sweeping before mopping.
The Braava Jet 240 brings a lot to the table in comparison to misguided and mischievous little Loki AKA iLive V5, the clumsy Scooba 450 with its potential visit from the police for suspicious activity as reported by neighbors, and the sturdy albeit outdated IBM with floppy disk drive also known as the Braava 380t.
What did we find most appealing about the Braava Jet 240?
- The cost. The price is more than reasonable for a mopping robot.
- The light weight. Light weight means that if the robot does get wedged somewhere (which doesn’t happen often with the Jet 240), it doesn’t bang around quite as loudly.
- The 10-oz. tank capacity is quite reasonable for 150 sq. ft of mopping area.
- The mopping battery life of 120 minutes is outdone only by the Braava 380t, but the thorough cleaning of the Jet 240 is worth the difference in battery life.
- The option to damp sweep rather than mop the floor is a good battery saver and still results in clean mopped floors unless you have sticky or stuck on stains or spills.
- The iRobot iAdapt 2.0 navigation technology of the Jet 240 control the area in which the mop robot works and works quite well to plan mopping areas and get the job done.
- Washable pads mean that the Jet 240 doesn’t require replacement pads quite as often as other machines. Replacement pads are available, however, when needed, which is also a plus.
- The auto-home feature makes sure that the Jet 240 docks itself for charge after a cleaning cycle. I won’t harp on why this is a beneficial feature, but just know that it is and you can’t live without it.
The Bad and the Ugly
There are plenty of pro’s to the Braava Jet 240, but what about the con’s? We aren’t going to tell you that there aren’t any because there are, but in our opinion, they are worth the trade off.
- In the words of the Grinch – the noise, noise, noise, noise! At 70db this is one of the louder mopping robots on the market. Fortunately, you can leave this one to run when you’re at work or grabbing groceries and not have to worry about it getting lodged somewhere, so noise is less of an issue than you may anticipate.
- Square foot coverage. The Braava Jet 240 covers between 150 to 200 sq. ft. This may be a problem if you have a big cleaning job ahead of you or an exceptionally large house, but again, it’s something that can be remedied. Set the Jet 240 up to clean one room of the house each day of the week and you’ll get it all covered. Or if you recently came in to some money (perhaps after suing your neighbor for accusing you of holding someone hostage in your bathroom?) you could purchase more than one unit.
- There is no pause and resume feature on the Jet 240. That means that if you stop it mid-cycle it will not pick up where it left off. Is this a deal breaker? We don’t think so.
Is the Braava Jet 240 the Right Mopping Robot For You?
As with any appliance, the machine you choose is going to depend on what you are looking for. If you are looking for an efficient cleaner that is capable of smoothly passing over your floors and cleaning up messes of various degrees, then the Braava Jet 240 is the right choice. If you are looking for the squeaky clean floors that the Scooba 450 once gave you, you won’t find it with the Jet 240…in fact, you won’t find it with anything other than the Scooba’s to date. The only problem with that? iRobot doesn’t make the Scooba’s anymore. So, take the slightly less sparkly but still clean floors and accept the tradeoff of not having a mopping robot that gets trapped behind your toilet every time you clean.