Floor Cleaners

iRobot Scooba 390 Review – Hard Floor Cleaner

(Last Updated On: November 17, 2015)

The Scooba is iRobot’s popular floor mopping robotic device. While not as popular as the Roomba series, it does have a strong following easpecially for people with large amounts of hard surface flooring. In this article we will conduct a full iRobot Scooba Review for readers.

Whether you are looking to buy for the first time or considering upgrading to the 390 series, this review will provide a helpful overview of what to expect. There are a few key upgrades for the 300 series that have some clear performance implications.

Features of the Scooba

The following are the top features of the Scooba:

Multiple Pass Cleaning: iRobot is increasingly integrating their multiple pass technology into their robotic cleaning solutions. The Scooba uses something called iAdapt software to ensure every section of floor is covered multiple times.
Cleans All Hard Sufraces: Any finished floor types (excluding laminate) work with the Scooba. This makes it a great cleaning fit for tile, linoleum, marble, vinyl, sealed hardwood, stone, and slate.
Easy Confinement: Just like the Roomba, Scooba uses the Virtual Wall to keep the device within the right parameters. Unlike other devices, the “virtual” barrier is easy to set up and hands free. The invisible beam is very effective and rarely has any issues. However, you may need to invest in an additional one for multiple rooms (depending on the room size).
Auto Cliff Detection: This feature ensures that your device will not fall down the stairs or off of an elevated floor. In all of out tests, we could not “fool” the Scooba into falling down the stairs.
Wall Following Technology: Some of the early robotic vacuums were gigged because they neglected the corners of rooms. With iRobot’s latest updated wall following technology, the Scooba intelligently follows the outline of the room, ensuring that every corner gets equal coverage.
Extended Battery Powder: The new Scooba 390 offers the longest battery life of any previous model.
Dummy Proof Operation: As with many of iRobot’s offerings, the user interface for the Scooba is incredibly easy to operate with a simple intuitive interface.
Color Coded Maintenance Tagging: A new feature of the 390 is that all of the parts that require regular maintenance and cleaning are colored orange and grey. This helps to clearly identify what you should be monitoring and ultimately leads to a longer useful life for your little robotic friend. As a side note, iRobot has a sizable market for replacement parts and from third party suppliers. This sets the Scooba a part from the competition because its fair easier to find replacement parts if/when things start to break down.

What’s New with the Scooba 390

Many users of the older Scooba’s might be interested in hearing about the Scooba 390 vs 230 and what specific improvements have been made. Here’s my list of the important changes:

Part of this Scooba 390 review is evaluating the features that were added for this version. The main difference between the 300 series and the 200 series is a more advanced patented cleaning mechanism. The 390 now uses a 4-stage cleaning process (versus a 3-stage with the 200 series). The end result is a more hands-free solution. Whereas the 200 line of Scooba’s required initial floor sweeping before using, the 390 does not requrie pre-sweeping.

New Brushes: The 390 also has a new roller brush that rotates, helping to increase the cleaning power.

Better Cleaning Percentages: The Scooba 230 only claims to kill 97% of all bacteria on floors, while the 390 gets the additional pesky 1% for an overall rating of 98%.

Can Cover More Ground: The Scooba 390 can now cover 425 square feet versus 150 square feet for the 390.

Height Differences: Another obvious difference is the more compact size of the Scooba 390. It is roughly half the height of the 200 series, meaning that there is less opportunity to get stuck under lower clearance furniture. The new dimensions are 14.8 inches in diameter and 3.6 inches in height.

UPDATE: In case you missed it, there’s a new Scooba on the block. It’s the 450 version and it delivers a number of improvements over the 390. The pricing on the 390 still might make it a good option, but consider reading my Scooba 450 review right here.

Pros and Cons of the Scooba

I find it helpful to create a “pro” and “con” list when I’m investing in anything over $100. The following are some of positives and negatives that I’ve noticed so far.

The Pros:
1) Smaller and more compact than previous versions,
2) 100% hands free cleaning,
3) Set and forget,
4) Borrows winning features from the Roomba series,
5) Cleans up to 450 square feet.

The Cons:
1) Still relatively expensive (but not as expensive as the latest models),
2) Doesn’t clean laminate,
3) Still bulkier than the Roomba.

iRobot Scooba Video Overview

Watch a live video review of the Scooba 390

Where to Buy the Scooba 390

The best place to purchase the Scooba 390 is Amazon.com. With Free Shipping and the lowest retail prices, you can generally find a seller offering it for less than $500. This is likely a better deal than you will find in retail stores, plus the Amazon guarantee provides some additional security. 

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

3 Comments

  • I love my Scooba 390. I use it weekly. My floors are so damn clean I can’t imagine ever mopping them again. And I haven’t mopped since I bought it 5 months ago.

  • Is there a robot that does vacuuming/floor sweeping and mopping? I have a 1600 sf home with 90% is laminate flooring and I also have 2 french bulldogs that shed.

    • Hi Steve – There is not a specific iRobot cleaner, however there are other options that do what you describe. Namely, the Bobsweep. You can check out my article about it here. There are other brands that try to do both, but not very well.

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