iRobot may be best known for their robot vacuums, but they also have a strong lineup of floor mopping robots as well. While the robotic vacuum space is pretty crowded with new brands and models, iRobot really runs away with the floor mopping category.
You probably are curious about the new Braava Jet 240 floor mopping bot and how it stacks up to its predecessors. In this iRobot Braava Jet 240 review, I will dig into the key new features as well as how it differs from both previous Braava’s and the Scooba line from iRobot.
So, lets get started with the core features…
Core Features of the Braava Jet 240
Here are some of the key features worth noting. See the “New” tag to see what’s been improved.
- NEW 3 Distinct Cleaning Modes: New for the Braava Jet are three unique modes of cleaning. This is a significant improvement over the Braava 380/320 which has only 2 distinct modes. The new modes are:
- 1) dry sweeping for collecting dust and dirt,
- 2) wet mopping for deep cleaning with water and cleaning solution, and
- 3) “damp” cleaning mode using less water for a gentle clean (limiting damage to hardwood floors, if you are concerned with this)
- Different Cleanings Pads: Along with the three different modes, you have three different cleaning pads designed specifically for each task. This helps to optimize performance and overall cleaning quality.
- NEW Precision Jet Spray: The older Braava 300 series uses the “pro-clean” system, while the Braava Jet has a precision jet spray head (hence the name) and a vibrating cleaning head. You can see below for an example.
- Fully Automated: The Braava Jet – like it’s predecessors – uses patented technology to navigate the room and track progress. Bumpers will subtely indicate where objects are and help navigate even the more complex floor plans.
- NEW On-board Virtual Wall: This is an interested development for iRobot. While the older 300 series Braava’s communicated to an external virtual wall device (separate hardware), the 260 Jet has simple virtual wall technology built into the device. All you have to do is push a button and the Jet will create an invisible barrier behind it, meaning that it will not go past that line on it’s route back and forth (i.e. “virtual wall”). This virtual barrier mode is ideal for cleaning smaller areas like bathrooms and kitchens.
- NEW Design: The first thing you will notice is the new design which varies significantly from the 380 and 320 versions. It is a bit bulkier (height), but comes with an ergonomic handle to easily transport the device around your house.
- Capacity volume - .25 gallon
Pros and Cons of the Jet
There are definitely some Pros and Cons to consider with the Braava Jet. Here’s some of the important ones:
- Better for Hardwood Floors: This is a big deal for me because about 70% of my home is hardwood. In the past, I would use my robot mops sparingly so as not to oversaturate. The “damp” mop cleaning mode is the perfect solution for this problems. It’s also a smart move for iRobot because hardwood floors are an growing trend for new homes and remodels.
- More Efficient Clean: It’s a subtle difference, but the Braava Jet does clean slightly better than the Braava 300 series. It took me a few runs comparing them side by side, but it seems the Jet’s spraying out front technique is a bit more thorough. The caveat is that it covers less territory.
- Streamlined Area Control: While it can clean less territory, the Jet does not rely on external hardware for “virtual wall” barriers. This is a convenient trade-off for the smaller cleaning area and less clutter for your home.
- Quiet Operation: In contrast to the louder robotic vacuum cousins, the Braava 260 goes about it’s mopping routine quietly. In fact, I hardly noticed it from across the room unless I was specifically listening for the telltale squirts of water as it moved across the kitchen tiles.
- Attractive Price: This is probably the first thing that you will notice. The Braava Jet is priced more attractively than predecessors. With this exclusively-listed price, the Jet 240 is targetting entry level robot mop users. Means it costs significantly less than the Braava 380. iRobot is probably making a tactical move here as well. Adoption rate for their robotic “Roomba” vacuums is much higher (vacuuming is more of a “pain” presumably) and they are probably trying to convert these customers into mop bot users as well.
- Small Effective Range: With the goal of cleaning less, better, the Jet has a significantly smaller effective range than the Braava 380. You’ll get about 200 square feet (max) vs 300-1000 for the 380 (more with additional navigation cubes). Granted, you’ll probably have cleaner floors.
- Replaceable Pads Add Up: This might be the hidden money maker for iRobot. You get a pack of 10 pads, but you will need separate pads for each cleaning mode (they are designed differently) and will need to replace after each use (like a Swiffer mop). The good news? You can invest in the premium microfiber pads that iRobot sells which can be washed and reused. All Braava’s are also compatible with many less expensive replaceable cleaning pads (generics like Swiffer).
- Can’t Focus on Problem Areas: One of the features I love about my Roomba’s is their ability to detect particularly dirty patches and use the persistent pass technology to deep vacuum. The Braava Jet doesn’t have this ability and is intended to clean each square foot evenly.
Braava Jet Alternatives
There are a few different floor mopping options out there. In particular, it’s helpful to look at the new Braava Jet vs the Braava 380 and 320. In addition, you may want to upgrade to a fully featured deep scrubbing mop with the Scooba series.
Braava 300 Series – The 320 and 380 are two of the Jet’s older siblings, having been on the market for a couple years now. It appears as though the Jet has effectively replaced the 320 as the lower priced offering, but there are still plenty of reasons to consider upgrading to the Braava 380t.
The most important feature is the max effective range. You’ll get at least 1000 square feet of dry sweeping and 350 square feet of mopping. That’s over double the capacity of the Braava Jet. Another small benefit is the ability to pause/resume the Braava 380 mid clean.
The downside? The 380t only has 2 modes (mop or sweep, no damp sweep) and doesn’t have the new precision jet spray system. This is the main difference when comparing the Braava 240 Jet vs 380t. It’s also more expensive, but check this listing for for current prices.
How does Braava Jet 240 compare to the Braava 380t? Read here!
Scooba 390 – The Scooba series mimics a true mop more closely. Th Braava is meant as a Swiffer type automated solution. You can check out my full assessment here, but here are some of the highlights…
The Scooba is only meant for mopping (no dry or damp clean), but it’s able to cycle clean water (not the same old dirty water) in either 20 or 45 minute intervals.
For navigation, you’ll be using the same system as the older Roomba’s i.e. virtual walls. It’s also a bit older, so you can find it for an affordable price here compared to the 450 (below).
Scooba 450 – The 450 is the latest Scooba with the most recent technology for room navigation and deep cleaning. It’s the most expensive mopping solution, but also one of the most complete (see the review here).
The 450 features some additional advanced navigation technology and a 3-cycle cleaning system (a step up from the 390). In comparison to the Braava’s, it’s more of a deep scrubbing vs Swiffer effect. However, it is the most expensive option of the mops. Check this listing for the latest price.
UPDATE: While you can still find the Scooba in certain stores, it has effectively been discontinued by iRobot moving forward. The two mopping options remain the Braava 240 Jet and the 380t.
Table Comparison – iRobot Mops
To summarize the important differences, I’ve included a comparison table below for quick reference:
|Braava Jet 260||Braava 380t||Scooba 390||Scooba 450|
|Max Effective Range (Mop)||150 Sq. Ft.||350 Sq. Ft.||450 Sq. Ft.||300 Sq. Ft.|
|Max Effective Range (Sweep)||200 Sq. Ft.||1,000 Sq. Ft.||No dry sweep||No dry sweep|
|Navigation||iAdapt 2.0 (onboard Nav)||iAdapt 2.0 + Nav Cube||iAdapt 1.0 + Virtual Walls||iAdapt 1.0 + Virtual Walls|
|Cleaning Modes||3 Modes (Wet, Damp, Dry)||2 Modes (Wet, Dry)||Standard Mop (20 or 45 minuted cycle)||Standard Mop (20 or 45 minute cycle)|
|Cleaning Technique||Precision Jet + Vibrating Head||Pro-Clean System||Clean water cycling||Clean water cycling|
|Price Range||Least expensive (see here)||Mid-range (see here)||Most expensive (see here)||Most expensive (see here)|
Braava Jet vs “All in One” Vacuum/Mops
It might be tempting to try to buy an “all in one” vacuum and mop solution instead of a separate mop bot and vacuum bot. Doing so would be a mistake. While it sounds good in theory, the technology is just not there yet.
The current situation is that hybrids that try to do both generally end up doing both tasks, but worse.
There’s definitely a few options out there, including the Moneual H67 (see my review) and the Bobsweep 2 in 1 robot (see my review). They are decent maintenance cleaners for both modes (Bobsweep is actually competitive for vacuuming), but not as good as the iRobot bots sold separately.
Final Take – Are There Enough New Features?
At first I was a bit surprised that iRobot would come out with a new mop. How could they really improve on the existing Braava’s. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
The new changes might not seem like much, but they are cumulatively quite compelling.
1) lower price point. Check! I like it. 2) more efficient cleaning. Check! I like it. 3) new “damp” mop mode. Check! I like it.
Bottom Line: If you were putting off buying a robot mop because A) you didn’t think you really needed it or B) thought it was overpriced, now is your time to buy.
Right now, the Braava Jet is available exclusively here and not yet in retail stores.
UPDATE: The Braava Jet is now carried by Amazon at this listing!
P.S. I don’t say this about every robot!