Robot mops have been slower to develop than their vacuum counterparts. This is in part due to logistics. Put simply, most people don’t have as much square footage in need of mopping.
However, the other component has been that the technology is a bit more complex. Tackling the right way to automate mopping isn’t as easy, mainly because a good robot mop requires a decent size water tank on-board.
In recent years, iRobot has been leading the charge. While the older Scooba line has been discontinued recently (you may still be able to find some), the more affordable Braava series has started to gain traction. Surprisingly, no other robot brand has a dedicated mop on the market. 2-in-1 combos are generally nice in theory, but difficult to execute on in practice.
Bottom line: there is a distinct separation between the top tier of dedicated mops and the second tier of combo vacuum/mops.
Contents (Jump to)
- 1 At a Glance – the Top Contenders for 2017
- 2 Top 5 Robot Mops – In Depth
- 2.1 Best Overall Performer – Braava Jet 240
- 2.2 Best Damp Mop for Larger Areas – Braava 380t
- 2.3 Braava vs Scooba – How Do the New Braava’s Compare to the Old Scooba’s?
- 2.4 Best Budget Combo – iLIFE V5S Robotic Vacuum + Mop
- 2.5 Runner Up #1 – Bobsweep Robotic Vacuum+ Mop
- 2.6 Runner Up #2 – Ecovacs Robotic Vacuum + Mop
- 3 Dedicated Mop vs Combo Vacuum + Mop
- 4 The Final Mop
At a Glance – the Top Contenders for 2017
Currently, this is what the marketplace looks like from your vantage point:
|Model||Modes||Best use||Overall Performance (1-10)||Price|
|Braava Jet 240||Dry + Damp + Wet (3)||Smaller areas w/tiles, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Deep Cleans||8.5||Check here|
|Braava 380t||Dry + Damp (2)||Larger areas w/hardwoods, Maintenance cleaning||7.5||Check here|
|iLIFE V5s||Dry + Damp (2)||Maintenance cleaning||5||Check here|
|Bobsweep||Dry + Damp (2)||Maintenance cleaning||4.5||Check here|
|Ecovacs N78||Dry + Damp (2)||Maintenance cleaning||4||Check here|
Top 5 Robot Mops – In Depth
The following is a closer look at each of the 5 best options:
Best Overall Performer – Braava Jet 240
If you are looking for the deepest clean, the Braava Jet 240 is currently the best on the market. Here’s why:
- Patented 3-mode cleaning system (“wet”, “damp”, and “dry” mop)
- Precision spray jet for real wet mopping
- Compatible with iRobot iHome app
- Ideal for cleaning grouted tiles (not just a surface clean)
- Very attractive price (check this listing for latest)
- Full Review: You can read my full take here.
Here’s a quick summary (at a glance) for how the three different cleaning pads work on the Braava Jet 240:
|Wet Mopping||Damp Sweeping||Dry Sweeping|
|Water-Activated Cleaning Agent||X||X|
|Best for:||Well-sealed floors||Sealed floors||All hard floors|
|Dirt & Stains||Dirt & Dust||Dirt, Dust, & Hair|
Drawbacks? Limited range (max of about 250 square feet in wet mode – 1000 square feet in dry mode).
Runner-Up? Your main alternative here is going to be the Braava 380t (see below).
Best Damp Mop for Larger Areas – Braava 380t
If you need to cover more ground, there is really only one good option that still does a decent job. That’s the Braava 380t. Here’s whey:
- Two modes: “damp” and “dry” mop
- Ideal for hardwood flooring (where you don’t want a full wet mop to damage the wood, but need a “damp” clean)
- Comes with resuable microfiber clothes (you don’t necessarily need to keep buying disposables, although you can)
- Can tackle up to 350 square feet in damp mop mode, 1000 square feet in dry mop mode
- Can pause/resume (unlike the Jet 240)
- Full Review: Check it out here.
Drawbacks? No wet mop mode, higher price point (check here) than the Jet 240, older technology than the Jet 240.
Runner Up? Any one of the combo options below would work for basic maintenance mopping over larger areas. This really is the gap in the market: a good robot mop that can cover up to 1000 square feet in “damp” mode. Unfortunately, there are no good options right now.
Braava vs Scooba – How Do the New Braava’s Compare to the Old Scooba’s?
I thought it would be helpful to include a side-by-side comparison of the top true robot mops on the market:
|Braava jet 240||Braava 380t||Scooba 450|
|Price||Least Expensive: Check here||Mid-Range: Check here||Most Expensive: Check here|
|Designed for||Small spaces||Larger spaces, multiple rooms||Small spaces|
|Weight||2.7 lbs||4 lbs||8.29 lbs.|
|Dimensions (LWH, in.)||6.7 x 7 x 3.3||8.5 x 9.6 x 3.1||14.4 x 14.4 x 3.6|
|Coverage: Sweeping||200 square feet||1,000 square feet||No sweeping function|
|Coverage: Mopping||150 square feet||350 square feet||300 square feet|
|Battery Life||No official estimate of run time and charging time.||Sweeps for up to 210 minutes, mops up to 150 minutes||40 minutes|
|Navigation||iAdapt 2.0||iAdapt 2.0 with Navigation Cube||iAdapt|
|Cleaning modes||3 (Wet Mop, Damp Sweep, Dry Sweep)||2 (Mop, Sweep)||1 (Wet Mop)|
|Mode selection||Automatically chosen by pad||Manually choose MOP or SWEEP||Not applicable|
|Disposable pads||ü||Works with other brands||–|
|Additional cleaning features||Precision Jet Spray & Vibrating Cleaning Head||Pro-Clean System||Water tank|
|Pause and Resume||X|
Best Budget Combo – iLIFE V5S Robotic Vacuum + Mop
Now we get to the combo mops. Caveat: If you want something approaching a true mop replacement, the previous options are best.
That said, when discussing combo robots, the iLIFE V5s does that best job at both. ILIFE is an Asian competitor that has leaped up the rankings this year, fulfilling a need in the market for budget robots with reliable (if unspectacular) performance. Here’s why I like the V5s
- Comes with dedicated water tank reservoir (“mops” without tanks are glorified Swiffers).
- Programmable with auto scheduling features (many budget robots are not)
- Auto dock and recharge
- Decent option if you have extensive hardwoods
- Very attractive price (check the latest prices here)
- Full Review: You can read all the gory details here.
Drawbacks: No full on “wet” mop (only damp mop). As such, it is not ideal for tiles (usually kitchens and bathrooms), but it will do for light maintenance cleaning. Vacuum is competent, but there’s a lack of smart navigation technology for boundary marking. The more cluttered your home, the more opportunities for this device to get stuck.
Runner Up #1 – Bobsweep Robotic Vacuum+ Mop
Bobsweep was one of the earliest robot companies to try to execute on the “combo” model. While it’s not a tremendous at either vacuuming OR mopping, it does an adequate job for the price point (check this listing).
Runner Up #2 – Ecovacs Robotic Vacuum + Mop
Another robot trying to be all things to all people, Ecovacs is another interesting option. Formally known as the Deebot (see review here), Ecovacs is a slight step behind Bobsweep in terms of reliability. It DOES have a dedicated water tank, which is a solid first step for an aspiring robot mop.
Dedicated Mop vs Combo Vacuum + Mop
In theory, a 2-in-1 is a great value proposition. However, in my experience the current field of combo robots end up being mediocre at both functions.
Put simply, the Braava series (#1 and #2) is MILES AHEAD of the #3-5 options. If you want a thorough sanitizing clean, the Braava Jet 240 really is the ONLY robot mop that has full on wet mop functionality.
Personally, my ideal setup is having the Braava Jet 240 for the kitchens and/or bathrooms (any surface with tile) and a traditional robot vacuum for the rest of the house. Yes, this means purchasing two devices, but I’d rather have two devices that individual do a great job than a combo that does both tasks halfway. It’s a personal preference. What are YOU comfortable with?
The Final Mop
Pitting a floor mopping robot with a robot vacuum cleaner that also mops the floor seems unfair. Of course, you would want to get the one that does both job and does them well. However, this review will focus on floor mopping robots that also scrub or sweep the floor but do not have vacuuming function.
There are a lot of robot vacuum cleaners to choose from, but purely mopping robots are rare and can be hard to come by. And if the field is really narrowed down to the best when it comes to the floor mopping arena, iRobot dominates. All other mopping-only robots give dismal performance.
Let’s take for instance the Techko Maid Smart Maid RS118. The Techko Maid Smart Maid RS118 can sweep your carpet and hard floors. It can clean marble floors, tiles, wood and linoleum floors. Cleaning starts with only one touch of a button. The Techko Maid Smart Maid RS118 also has sensors to help it avoid falling. It uses disposable cleaning fabrics. You would need to use wet fabrics or apply a liberal amount of floor cleaner to mop, while the cleaner uses Swiffer cloths for sweeping or dusting.
However, the Smart Maid RS118 is poorly designed and constructed that it leaves corners dirty. It can clean the center floor area properly and thoroughly, but because the brush is placed at the back of the robot, it has a difficult time cleaning the outermost parts. It also cleans haphazardly. It moves around the room at random and just bumps repeatedly against walls without cleaning the edges right, again because of the placement of the brush.
Another would-have-been contender is the Mint Plus Automatic Hard Floor Cleaner, manufactured by Evolution Robotics. Evolution Robotics was acquired by iRobot in 2012. The Mint Plus Automatic Hard Floor Cleaner even looks very similar to iRobot’s Braava cleaners.
This segment of the home robotics market is still emerging. It would be nice to see a true iRobot competitor step up to the plate and move the goal posts. As of now iRobot IS the market leader (both in terms of sales and technical performance) in this category.
Check back here as we update this article throughout the year as new developments happen.