From the people who brought you the iRobot Roomba vacuum, comes their latest home automation project; a robot that will mop your floor.
The iRobot Braava jet 240 is a small, square automated robot which runs off a small rechargeable battery pack. The mop works easily and autonomously. You just fill its small tank with warm water, attach a cleaning pad, then set the mop down and let it do its work.
There’s no complicated controls, or apps needed to make this device do its work. When you press the ‘start’ button, the mop moves back and forth in a rather long linear pattern, squirting warm water onto the floor, then using the cleaning pads, preloaded with special cleanser, to swipe the dirt off the floor.
The robot is actually very, very quiet, particularly compared to iRobot’s Roomba vacuum device which I have tested; see the full review here. Using the same technology that makes the vacuum robot function, the Braava jet 240 can navigate around furniture and obstacles with ease. The robot also has what iRobot calls “cliff detection”, so it will not tumble down the stairs.
Wet mop, damp sweep, dry sweep
The Braava jet has three different and distinct modes. You can use it to do a Wet Mop, where it will wash down your floors with water, a Damp Sweep, which uses slightly moistened pads to sweep up dust and debris, or a third mode, Dry Sweep, which will clean your floor much in the way a Swiffer pad would.
The Braava jet says it has ‘precision jet spray’, and a ‘vibrating cleaning’ head to loosen dirt and stains, then the cleaning pads soak up dirt and debris for disposal at the end of the cleaning cycle.
The mop is very compact in size; it’s not much bigger than a lunch box or a double stack of paperback books, so it’s able to squeeze into tight spaces, in particular iRobot highlights that it can get under cabinets and around toilets, plus into corners.
Braava jet mopping pads are extra
For some, the downside of this robot will be that you need to use a fresh cleaning pad for every mop. A 10 pack of wet mopping pads costs $8 with an extra five or six dollars for shipping and handling, if you order from the iRobot web store. BUT… by the time I ordered 20 pads, with US exchange rate and shipping it was $40 Canadian; that’s about $2 per pad. Expensive? I guess that depends on your perspective.
Another option for the mop is reusable pads. iRobot makes washable mopping pads that can be tossed into the washer. They don’t specify, however, how cleanser would get dispensed, since in the disposable pads it’s infused into them. The website only says these pads, “tackle dirt and stains on sealed floors using water only. Can be washed up to 50 times before replacing”.
How well does iRobot Braava jet 240 work?
One of the smart features about this device, is that the device automatically knows which sweeping mode you want, based on which cleaning pad you slide into the device. That keeps operation simple, but it also means that if you run out of wet mopping pads, you can’t simply attach a different pad and still get the floor mopped properly.
The robot can clean about 150 ft.² in wet mopping mode. That’s about enough to do a small room, like a kitchen or bathroom. After that, the Braava jet will likely need a battery recharge, the tank refilled, and a new mopping pad attached.
I was quite surprised at how well the mop cleaned. I ran it a couple times and watched it work, and thought, “what’s it really doing”? There is a rather random pattern the mopping robot uses on floors, it kind of goes forward and back and side to side all at the same time, then when it gets to the end of a row it turns around and overlaps in the same pattern again. If you want to see exactly how it cleans a room when you’re not looking, check out the time lapse video below.
iRobot Braava jet 240 – Is it really cleaning?
Initially, I wasn’t sure how well it was actually mopping. After all, that small stream of warm water it squirts onto the floor doesn’t look very impressive. But then I turned them off over and looked at the cleaning pad. Gross! Not only had the pad collected hair, and debris, it was also very dirty. And that was on the floor I thought it was relatively clean. Same deal with the Damp Sweep pads; I ran the robot over our hall and entryway, and the floor, which, again, I thought was clean, came away black and filthy. I was very impressed.
A lazy housekeepers dream
I’m going to admit washing the floors is not a high priority for me. It gets mopped every two weeks, but in between, only spills and messes get wiped down. But after using the robot to mop the bathroom, the halls, entry and kitchen in between those regular, deep cleanings, I realize I need to do better, and the iRobot Braava jet 240 can help me.
I have a dog, and frequently have other dogs visiting the house. I really like the idea of being able to keep the floors from becoming filthy with dirt, debris and paw prints. I wouldn’t say this product can totally replace washing your floors; you would still want to do a thorough cleaning yourself from time to time, but as a stop-gap for keeping things tidy between cleanings it’s a good option for families with pets and children. The kids may also find it fun to operate.
I also like that the price of this robot is much, much less than the Roomba; the Braava jet 240. It sells for about $199 USD. Considering it sweeps and mops, this robot would be a good way to get into the home automation game for a smaller investment.