iRobot Braava 380t vs Scooba 390

When it comes to robotic vacuums, there are few companies that can even come close to keeping up with iRobot. The company has been at the top of the business in terms of technological advancements and continues to improve their products with each new vacuum they release. When it comes to comparing two robotic vacuums from iRobot, many would think they would be similar, but users would be getting two different experiences depending on whether you choose the iRobot 380t or the iRobot Scooba 390.

UPDATE: The Scooba series is being phased out by iRobot. Replacing it is the new Braava Jet 240 (read my full review here).

You can also check out my top robot mops for 2017 here.

Features of iRobot Braava 380t

The iRobot Braava 380t is a square unit that can be used dry or with a damp mop. The damp mop will clean your floors with disposable microfiber cleaning cloths. This unit has a longer battery life than previous models of the iRobot and is capable of cleaning multiple rooms in your home during the same cleaning cycle. The battery is charged with its Turbo Charge Cradle and has a Pro-Clean System that keeps your home clean.

The Braava 380t mops your floors either dry or damp. The Pro-Clean system is a special reservoir cleaning pad dispenser that releases liquid throughout operation, keeping the cloth wet. The vacuum runs in two different modes, works with different cleaning cloths and can be used on several surfaces.

  • Dry Mop Mode

In dry mop mode, the vacuum goes in straight lines to efficiently pick up all the debris in its path. This vacuum picks up all types of debris from dirt and hair to dust and food crumbs.

  • Mop Mode

In this mode, the vacuum will go in a back and forth cleaning action and the damp cleaning cloths will reach deeper into the surface to get all the tough grime and grit off.

Once you determine what mode you need to run your vacuum in, you will have to decide how to use it. When you use the reusable Pro-Clean cloth, it is meant to attract grime, dirt and oils from the ground. It can be cleaned with mild cleaning solutions or even just with water. If you don’t want to use the Pro-Clean cloth, you can instead choose to use a disposable or microfiber cleaning cloth that works to pull out the dirt and grime. This vacuum can also be used on various floor surfaces from hardwood and laminate to tile and vinyl.

One aspect of the Braava 380t robotic vacuum that makes it stand out above others is its NorthStar Navigation System. This system keeps track of where the unit has been and where it should go for its next cleaning cycle. This vacuum has one of the best square footage runs in the class as it is capable of mopping as much as 1,000 square feet of floor and can dampen up to 350 square feet of floor. You can choose to expand on the regular model of this vacuum to allow as many as 2,000 square feet of cleaning room.

The size of this unit is another plus and it is just three inches tall and can get under most surfaces and even into tighter areas as it is only 8.5 inches long. The unit is ideal for cleaning along the wall with its Wall-Following technology and even has a soft touch bumper to make sure none of your furniture gets scratched from making contact. The unit also has smart sensors that will help guide it away from stairs, carpets and area rugs.

One thing that iRobot attempts to do with each unit is improve the battery life and they did that with that with the Braava 380t. This unit can run for as much as four hours when dry mopping or two and a half hours when used for damp mopping. The charging time is also one of the best as it takes just two hours to get a full charge for this model. It also runs quietly, allowing you to program it to work at night without worrying about being awakened and even has a pause feature that allows you to change the cleaning cloth and then resume where you left off.

Features of iRobot Scooba 390

The iRobot Scooba 390 is one of the newest models of vacuums from the robotic vacuum manufacturer. The biggest perk of using this vacuum compared to other models is its improved battery life meaning you have more time to clean each floor surface before the need to recharge again. The unit cleans the floors of your home with a four stage process that eliminates up to 98 percent of harmful bacteria that is commonly found around the home. The Scooba 390 will prep, wash, scrub and squeegee your floor, eliminating the need to keep a broom and a mop in your hallway closet. By using this device, you are ensuring that you will not be “cleaning” the floors of your home with a dirty mop or broom.

One of the positive functionality points of the Scooba 390 is its ability to clean any floor surface including tile, linoleum, slate, marble, tone and sealed hardwood. When the vacuum operates, it cleans your floors while keeping the debris and dirt inside the machine. This is a thorough cleaning method that numerous robotic vacuums have been unable to replicate.

The Scooba 390 features a wide cleaning head that is ideal to clean most large rooms including kitchens, family rooms and even your garage or basement. This unit has a water reservoir to can clean up to 425 square feet of flooring before the need to refill the tank. When it comes to cleaning each room, the vacuum will go over the same spot at least three times to make sure all the debris and dust particles are picked up.

This vacuum has an advanced system of sensors and software that will allow it to know where the unit is around your house to detect what areas it needs to go over again to clean. The Scooba 390 uses iAdapt Technology that make sure it runs over every area of your home. Instead of a basic left to right motion to clean the floors of your home, the computer inside the robotic vacuum changes between dozens of robotic behaviors as many as 60 times per minute. The unit also has a “wall-following” option that allows it to run along the baseboards in your home, cutting deep into the corners, and it can also detect when there is a drop in altitude, allowing you to run it near a stairwell without worry.

To make it more convenient for its owners, the Scooba 390 is easy to use. As soon as the water tank is filled, all you need to do is press the button and it will operate. An added convenience for those looking to ensure their vacuum survives as long as it should, iRobot has made it easy to detect which parts or pieces need to be cleaned on a regular basis by coloring them gray or orange. The unit has Virtual Wall Technology that keep it in the rooms you want cleaned and out of the rooms you don’t want or need cleaned. When purchasing this 8.6 pound vacuum, you will get four packets of hard floor cleaner to get you started on keeping your floor cleaned properly.

iRobot Braava 380t vs iRobot Scooba 390

iRobot Braava 380t

iRobot Scooba 390

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Price

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Yes

Blueprints House

No

Yes

Bumper

Yes

                   Cleaning Cloth

Cleaning Cloth or Brush

Cleaning Cloth

Yes

Restart Mode

No

3″

Height (inches)

3.6″

2 Hours

Charge Time

N/A

No, non-carpeted only

Auto Adjust To Floor Type

No, non-carpeted only

No/Yes/Yes

Carpet/Hardwood/Tile

No/Yes/Yes

Yes

Charging Base

Yes

Square

Shape

Round

 

These two iRobot vacuums have some of the same technologies including Wall-Following and Smart Sensors that allow it to accurately clean the floors in your home. Neither unit is meant to be used on carpeted surfaces, but for those with large spaced homes without carpets, both vacuums would be great additions to your home. Both units are compact enough to be stored anywhere from under the couch to in the closet while being charged. You can’t go wrong with either model, but in the end, it comes down to how much cleaning you have to do and for those with large floor plans to worry about, the iRobot Braava 380t might be your best choice.



10 Comments

  • If I own a Roomba and need my house mopped when I’m away at work, should I buy a Scooba or Braava? My flooring is ceramic.

    • The short answer is that you can’t go wrong with either. If you are trying to decide between the two and want to see which one has the edge, I would recommend the Braava for a more hands-free experience (less maintenance). It is also significantly more compact than the Scooba and less likely to get stuck. The Scooba 390 does have slightly superior cleaning results (in my experience), but does require a bit more baby-sitting and regular maintenance.

    • Hi Brian,

      Thanks for commenting! I’ve seen this question before, so hopefully it will help others as well. If you are worried water leaking than you should not have a problem if the floors are sealed around the vent. I have heard of them getting hung up on some vents. A simple solution is to place something on top of the vents so that the device can navigate around them. In theory – yes – the Scooba/Braava should be able to navigate around, but depending on how “raised” the vents are, it could still pose a problem.

  • Hi Patrick,

    Are you able to use any generic cloth on the Braava, or does it have to be ones bought from iRobot?

    Thanks,
    Israel.

    • Hi Israel,

      While I’m sure iRobot would recommend that you use their own cloths, you can use generic cloths. I prefer the “wet” cloths that iRobot provides, but for the “dry mop” feature I find that generic cloths work well. Hope that helps!

  • If I want my floor to be vaccumed and mopped do I have to buy a Roomba AND a Scooba/Braava or could I just buy a Scooba/Braava?? I read that the Scooba/Braava is able to clean dirt, but does it vaccum larger particles??

    • Hi karla, the answer yo your question is that you will have to get a Roomba AND a Scooba/Braava. The Scooba/Braava cleans dirt, but won’t be able to do much with larger particles. There ARE some robotic vacuums that are 2-1 cleaners (Bobsweep and Miele Scout come to mind), but they generally do not do as good a job at either. You could start with a Braava and see how it works (it’s a lightweight floor cleaner), but you will probably need both a Roomba and Scooba. If you have only hardwood/tile type of surfaces than you might be able to get away with just a Scooba, depending on how much high particle dirt you are accumulating.

  • The article says that the Sooba 390 “has a water reservoir to can clean up to 25 square feet of flooring before the need to refill the tank.” That is an area of only 5 foot square feet (5 ft by 5 ft IS 25 square feet). It appears that you would have to continually watch it and refill the reservoir every couple of minutes. Is this really true?

    • Boy I feel dumb… that was a typo. It can clean up to 425 square feet (not just 25…left off the 4). I’ve fixed it in the comparison, thanks for the catch and the comment.

      “I will remember to edit, I will remember to edit, I will remember to edit….”

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