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You've Got a Robotic Vacuum. Now, It's Time to Consider a Robotic Mop.

iRobot Braava 380t
Photo: iRobot

My OCD side loves cleaning robots. If you always want your house to be presentable and can’t stand seeing any dirty floors, a robotic vacuum is one of the best investments you can make. And ever since iRobot improved its cohort of smart robots for the house, I’ve been using mine several times a week to get rid of all the hair from my dear French bulldog. But finding the right robot to mop the floors is not as easy as it might seem in the 21st century.

After spending several hours researching, I decided to put the iRobot Braava 380t to work, which claims to be one of the best robotic mops on the market, though that’s a fairly low bar, since there just aren’t that many of them out there. Indeed, the Braava doesn’t disappoint, but you really need to know that, unfortunately, an automated mop doesn’t replace regular mopping of the floors, at least not to the same extent that a robotic vacuum can eliminate your need to actually vacuum. But it’s still tremendously useful for keeping your floors clean, which is great if you have pets or get visitors frequently.

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If you’ve used a robotic vacuum, the Braava has a few differences that you’ll need to get used to. First of all, it doesn’t go back to its charging station by itself once it’s done mopping: it’ll just die in the middle of the floor until you take it back to its charging station. Second, it’s way quieter than a vacuum. You’ll actually be able to sleep while you leave the Braava mopping the floors at night, and you won’t even hear a thing. This is its best feature in my opinion. Lastly, it lacks any other smart capacities, so you won’t be able to schedule it or activate it remotely via an app.

Once you are all set up with your new toy, you’ll find three buttons on the top of the Braava: one for dry mopping, another for wet mopping, and the power button. Let’s be totally honest so you don’t waste any of your precious time: you’ll never use the dry mopping head, since it doesn’t have suction and only moves the dirt around. Use a vacuum for that.

The robot comes with a separate navigation system called the NorthStar Navigation Cube, which sits on a table or shelf, and syncs up with the Braava to teach it how to navigate a room. If you want to use the robot in different rooms, then you’ll need to add more cubes across your home.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Braava is its small water tank, which keeps the mop moisturized for the cleaning process, and you can add any third-party cleaning solutions to it that you want. I recommend filling it with really hot water to get rid of all the stubborn spots on the floors. The Braava comes with a reusable and washable pad, but I’ve found it to be easier to have a few extras to use for when your main pad is in the wash.

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The Braava is a surprisingly adept navigator, and barely misses any spots on your floor. You can actually notice it getting smarter every time you use it, and it’s good at avoiding obstacles. It performs well with small spots, but it can make a mess in your kitchen if there’s oil residue on the floor. It works really well on hardwood and cork floors.

the Braava standing proud in its charging station
Photo: iRobot
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Once the Braava is done and you pick it up, you’ll see that the cloth is dirty and probably has some hair on it. But again, it won’t replace vacuuming at all. What I typically do is alternate the Roomba and the Braava each day to keep my apartment as polished as possible. You are also welcome to enforce a shoe policy at home with your guests.

Compared to a robotic vacuum, Braava is “needy,” since it requires more interaction on your end to set it up with clean cloths, add the water to its tank, turn it on, replace the cloth, and then return it to its charging station. But this is a really small inconvenience considering how long it usually takes to mop the floors manually. It’ll definitely save you time, and time is money. The investment is worth it.

We’ve reached a point where humanity has delegated vacuuming to smart robots, but what about mopping the floors? There aren’t many robots out there that do a good job in this area, and the Braava is definitely good enough to consider if your home has primarily hard flooring. Both my pup and I approve this message.

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About the author

Pablo Ortega

Tech lover with a wanderlust spirit. Follow me on social media: @PaulLenk.