For years now, iRobot has firmly established itself as the leading manufacturer of highly innovative floor cleaners and vacuums.
If you already have one of the popular iRobot Roomba for vacuuming floors, you may want to consider investing in a floor washing robot as well to eliminate the least pleasant household chore of maintaining gleaming, squeaky clean floors.
When it comes to floor washing devices, iRobot offers two different models: the Scooba, which has three versions (Scooba 230, Scooba 390 and Scooba 450) and the Brava, which currently has two available versions (Braava 320 and Braava 380t).
UPDATE for 2017: iRobot also recently introduced the Braava Jet 240 available here. It’s the cheapest floor mopping robot on the market, ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. The Scooba series has effectively been discontinued.
It can be a bit daunting to determine which one best fits your needs. To help you decide, the key differences of the Scooba 450 vs Braava 380t will be discussed in detail in this article.
However, one main point to keep in mind when choosing is that Scooba robots are designed to scrub the floors with brushes and cleaning liquid, while Braava robots are engineered to mop floors using a damp or dry microfiber cloth attached to it.
In a big hurry? For a quick overview of the key advantages, see my table right below:
|Scooba 450 Advantages||Braava 380t Advantages|
|Full mop replacement (more thorough clean)||Considerably cheaper than the 450 (see here)|
|Uses multiple passes to thoroughly disinfect||Comes with Navigation Cube (smarter mapping)|
|Uses full “Wet” mop (not just “Damp” mop)||Handles corners better (square design)|
|Can clean up to 1,000 square feet with dry mop|
About the iRobot Scooba 450
Like the previous models, the iRobot Scooba 450 follows the traditional round body design in black with blue highlights around the top area. This one measures 14.4 inches in diameter and only weighs 8.3 pounds, making it highly compact and portable.
This model offers a nice step up from the previous versions, although one will probably think twice in choosing the iRobot Scooba 450 over its heavily discounted predecessors.
This model uses the same cleaning technique found in Scooba 390. It mainly releases fluid from the tank, brushes over the floor surface and draws up the dirty water into a separate chamber.
Like the other models, you simple press Clean and allow it to do its job. However, the Scooba 450 adds a new step to the cleaning process as it is designed to first vacuum debris and dirt and emits water in order to pre-soak stains.
One of the main considerations in buying robot floor cleaners is the battery life. This model can work steadily for up to 40 minutes.
However, to save on battery, you also have the option to choose the 20-minute cycle, which is ideal for small spaces as it can cover approximately 150 square feet, while longer sessions is said to cover up to 300 square feet.
Another concern is the effectiveness of its cleaning process. Fortunately, the Scooba 450 has been proven to come with a superior cleaning mechanism. First, it sweeps and pre-soaks the floor area, then lays down liquid cleanser after the vacuum and brush has removed any loose particles.
You have the option to either use plain water or the hardwood cleaner. In addition, the brushes have been proven to effectively get rid of grime off the floor.
The Scooba 450 also comes with a built-in technology called iAdapt algorithm, which makes it smart enough to detect areas of the floor that are considerably dirtier and will require added attention. This device is also equipped with a squeegee that rotates at 600 rpm.
About the iRobot Braava 380t
The Braava 380t is an automated mop or sweeper that is comparable to the Mint 5200+. However, unlike the traditional designs of its predecessors, this one uses cloth to clean floors and not the usual vacuum and/or roller technology.
The device is square, measuring 3 inches in height, 8.5 inches in width and weighs 4 pounds. This is a considerably smaller and lighter weight construction even compared to its contemporaries.
While the cloth mop may come across as extremely basic, make no mistake about its effectiveness especially since it’s backed by the latest technology. Unlike the earlier model, the Braava 320, the 380t comes with a Pro-Clean Reservoir Pad, which is designed for wet applications.
Braava 380t is designed to drip a small amount of solution on its pad as it moves across the floor in order to keep the floor damp during the regular cleaning session. You simply need to empty the reservoir once the machine is done cleaning.
The Braava 380t also comes with a Multi-Purpose Cleaning Pad, which is used for sweeping or wet mopping floors. You can use damp or dry disposable cleaning cloths with the pad or Braava’s own specially designed reusable and washable microfiber cloths.
When in dry mode, the Braava 380t functions like a robot floor sweeper. It has been rated to being capable of sweeping 1,000 square feet in dry mode and 350 square feet in wet mode during a single cleaning session.
However, unlike other iRobot models, you do not have the option to set cleaning schedules with the 380t.
Comparing Scooba 450 vs Braava 380t
So which of the two best fits your floor cleaning needs? Here is some important comparative data to consider:
All Scooba robots are round, while Braava are rectangular in shape. In particular, the Braava 380t is considerably smaller and lighter compared to Scooba 450.
A smaller and more compact size presents a great advantage especially when floor washing and vacuuming as it will allow the robot to access tight and narrow spaces.
Both Braava and Scooba can be used on virtually all different types of hard surface floors such as vinyl, tile and laminate.
The Scooba 450 basically cleans the floor following 3 stages: first it sweeps loose particles then lays a thin sheen of water/cleaning solution, then the scrubbing brush spins at high speed in order to remove grime while a squeegee will follow through to suction the dirty water off the floor.
A final squeegee is also applied to finish off the cleaning process.
On the other hand, Braava robots do not pour any type of liquid on the floor as it is designed to simply mop the floor using either wet or damp cloth to pick up hair, dirt and dust.
When dry mopping, the robot moves in straight lines and back and forth movement is used for damp mopping. You simply need to attach the cleaning cloth to the magnetic cleaning pad.
With both devices fully charged, the Scooba 450 can cover up to 300 square feet while the Braava 380t can clean up to 1,000 square feet when dry mopping and 350 square feet when damp mopping in a single cycle.
The Scooba 450 also offers two cleaning cycle lengths, 40 minutes and 20 minutes while the Braava 380t can operate up to 4 hours on dry mopping and 2.5 hours for damp mopping.
Navigation and Cleaning Effectiveness
The two devices use a different navigation process. For the Scooba robots, they are equipped with the iAdapt Responsive Navigation Technology, which is a highly advanced software system with sensor that allows the robot to cover the entire floor section with multiple passes.
This also helps the device avoid stairs as well as get around and under furniture and work along the wall edges. With its light touch bumper system, it significantly minimizes its impact with furniture and walls to prevent premature wear and tear.
According to iRobot, the Scooba 450 is designed to work 3x better that the previous model Scooba 390.
You also have the option to use battery operated stand-alone units called the Virtual Walls that will automatically prevent the robot from entering floor spaces that you don’t want to be cleaned.
On the other hand, the Braava 380t uses the NorthStar Navigation System that comes with a stand-alone battery-operated Cube that allows the device to determine its location in every room and automatically build a map to ensure an efficient cleaning route.
The robot will then be able to make a single pass in every area within its generated configured map and once it’s done cleaning, it is programmed to return to its starting position.
Both navigation methods of the Braava and Scooba have their own share of pros and cons. Since Braava navigation is map-based, you can be sure the entire floor surface will be covered. However, since the device is not configured to make multiple passes, this model is best used for rooms that are not too dirty.
In comparison, the Scooba robot does not build a map and mainly rely on sensors in order to detect dirt. This means, you are not guaranteed that it will cover the entire floor area, especially those that are not too dirty.
When compared to Braava robots, Scooba robots make multiple passes which makes them more effective in eliminating dirt and sports that are considerably tougher to clean.
And since the Braava robots are rectangular in shape, it allows the robot to clean better, especially along wall corners and edges.
All Scooba robots come with 6 months limited warranty for its battery and 12 months limited warranty for the robot. On the other hand, the Braava robots are offered with 1 year warranty for both the battery and robot.
Update – NEW Braava Jet 240
iRobot has recently rolled out a new Braava! It appears to have officially “replaced” the Scooba in their product lineup. In reality, the Braava 300 series now has replaced the Scooba as the high level offering.
You can read my full review of it here, or see below for my quick highlights of the Braava Jet.
- It has a smaller footprint coverage (150 square feet of mopping vs 350 for the 380t)
- It has 3 new cleaning modes (wet mop, damp mop, and dry mop) vs the 2 modes (wet/dry binary option) on the Braava and Scooba.
- Another feature is the new vibrating jet spray cleaning head which definitely makes the wet mop more efficient (despite the smaller cleaning footprint)
- Best of all, the new price point is very attractive. (check here for latest prices)
The Scooba 450 is still readily available online and may in fact still be a better solution for pure wet mopping of larger areas.
Check out our guide to the best Robot Mops here!
Final Take – Which is Best?
All things considered, the Scooba 450 is generally best to be used for floors that require more intensive cleaning while Braava 380t is more ideal for lighter floor cleaning applications. You can find the Scooba 450 for the best price at this listing. Similarly, the more affordable Braava 380t can be found here.
I want to buy a robot mop and am having a hard time deciding on a model. It sounds like with every robot mop other than the Braava Jet 240 there is a water tank that is time consuming and annoying to clean. Is that your understanding?
All of them sound like they can be used with disposable pads or reusable pads, can you verify? I’d prefer to stick to the reusable pads (I have a Swiffer Wet Jet and the pads add up). I will only be using the robot mop to mop, I recently invested in a Neato vacuum.
I don’t mind spending an extra 100$ on a Braava 300 series model if it is actually better than the Jet 240 (based on the reviews I have read I don’t think the Scooba is worth the price – and I live in a small home where there is nothing too hard core to mop up). Have you tested the Jet 240? What are your thoughts? Thank you for the article and guidance!
Patrick Sinclair says
Beth – In your situation I’d go with the 240, mainly because it has 3 different modes and the extra square footage capacity of the Scooba isn’t as much of a concern for you (small home). It’s also the latest in terms of mopping tech from iRobot
ken penny says
We have large floor area. Would like Braava to stop and ring when it runs out of water rather than just keep running.
Scooba was the BEST machine that IRobot had , unfortunately it was to good and probable didn’t give iRobot to much money’s , do they put two substitutes that just spread dirt around !!