Why stop at just vacuuming and sweeping your floors when you can have a robot that also mops them? Seriously guys, if we are going to have smart homes and autonomous cleaners do the heavy lifting for us, we may as well go all out. Put the Swiffer away and let the robots take over. Of course, not in a maniacal way. The Singularity is not quite upon us.
In this article, I will examine in detail the best robot mops and show you the results. If you are interested in learning more about owning a robotic mop, then follow along. Everything you need to know is right here. By the end, you will have a better idea of the capabilities of each of the mops (as well as their limitations) and will be on your way to making your final purchase decision.
In this review, I will cover the bObSweep PetHair Plus, ILIFE V8S, iRobot Braava 380t, and the iRobot Braava Jet 240.
- 1 Comparison Table
- 2 How to Choose a Good Robotic Mop
- 3 Comparison
- 4 Conclusion
Here is a quick overview of the four robot mops and how they compare against one another.
|BobSweep PetHair Plus
|Braava Jet 240
|2000mAh Nickel-Metal Hydride
|Up to 75 Minutes
|Up to 120 minutes
|Up to 80 Minutes
|Up to 45 Minutes
|Collection Bin Capacity
|Water Reservoir Capacity
|Dual High-Efficiency Filters
|Stiff Bristle Brush Bar
|800pa Suction only
|Check on Amazon
|Check on Amazon
|Check on Amazon
|Check on Amazon
How to Choose a Good Robotic Mop
Choosing a robotic mop is a little different than choosing a robotic vacuum. Most, if not all robots will work well on hard flooring. There are some caveats, though, that you should be aware of. Not only in hard flooring types, but in mopping abilities.
In this section, I want to impress upon you the importance of the various things you should be looking for. While reading this part of the article, make sure you keep your specific house in mind, from the size and layout of the floor plan to the various types of flooring you have throughout the home.
Once you understand what you require in a mopping robot, you will be better equipped to make a final decision.
All About the Batteries
Every robotic cleaner will run on a rechargeable battery of some type. There are two main types used in these cleaners: lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride. NiMH batteries are one of the original styles of rechargeable batteries. While we have had major advancements in batteries, these still manage to hang around for a few reasons.
Mainly, they are less expensive to produce, which means the initial cost of the robot can be reduced to entice you to make a purchase. The problem with these batteries, though, is that they don’t last as long as the lithium-ion counterparts.
The charging cycle takes longer on a nickel battery than it does a lithium-ion one and the runtime of the battery is also less. This means, for the money you save by having a NiMH battery is lost in productivity, over the long haul.
You can also only recharge a battery (of any type) so many times before it stops holding a charge. Lithium-ion batteries, on average, can hold a charge for about 600 to 900 charging cycles. This, of course, depends on usage, how often the battery is completely drained and recharged and how much of the battery drain is due to inactivity.
Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries, on the other hand, can usually be recharged for 400 to 600 cycles. Again, this depends a lot on usage.
To prolong the life of a rechargeable battery, there are a few steps you can take.
- Completely charge until full for the initial charge.
- For the first few cycles, make sure the battery is completely drained before recharging.
- After the first five to 10 charging cycles, don’t let the battery fall below 10 percent.
- Try not to charge the battery to 100% every time.
- The “sweet spot” is to keep the battery between about 40 and 80 percent charge.
- Once a month completely drain the battery to 0 percent then charge to 100 percent.
While it is difficult on some models to determine the battery charge percentage, the best guess is better than nothing. Following these “rules” will enable the battery to hold a charge longer.
The basic idea is that rechargeable batteries begin to have a sort of “memory” for when they are full and when they are dead. Keeping the battery charged between 40 and 80 percent will not allow the battery to have a full recharging cycle. Draining the battery and recharging to 100 percent monthly will allow the battery to reset what it believes is full and what is dead.
Not All Floor Types Are Created Equal
We can ignore carpet for now as we are after the best mopping robot. If you feel you need to mop your carpet, we may have to have a serious talk with a specialist. Don’t worry, I know a good therapist and she is very nice.
For hard flooring, all robots will state they are rated for all floor types. This is true, but there are a few things to consider.
First, does your floor type scratch easily? The most common had flooring that is susceptible to scratching are those that require sealants, such as natural stone or granite. If you need to apply a clear sealant to your floors, the sealant can get marred and scratched from caster wheels, stiff bristle brush rolls and a constant back and forth scrubbing motion.
Softwood flooring such as pine, fir, cypress and spruce are very easily scratched. While the floors may have brighter tones and give a little more spring in your step while walking on them, some robots will leave their mark behind, which is terrible.
Grout is something else to watch out for. Tile floors can give an appealing look with designs, patterns and colors. However, the wider the grout, the harder it is for some robots to clean. Those without bristle bars or brush rolls will not be able to get between the tiles down to the grout, even though it is mere millimeters below the tile surface to the grout line.
While it is true that all robotic cleaners will clean all hard flooring types, some will do a better job than others. Some will leave marks on certain floors or not clean as well on others. Make a note of the types of flooring you have and what is best for that particular surface.
Dry, Damp or Wet Mop?
When you do choose a mopping robot (can we call them MopBots? I feel that should be a thing), you will need to decide if you require a robot that can wet mop, or just offers a dry or damp mop.
This can be confusing, so I will try to explain the differences. Especially since a lot of manufacturers call a wet mop a damp mop and the other way around.
A dry mop is just what it sounds like. You get a dry cloth, usually microfiber as they can collect and hold more dirt and debris, and run it over your floor. It’s a lot along the lines of a stick broom without suction. I like to call it floor dusting, but you can call it whatever you want.
A damp mop, on the other hand, is when the robot (or the human – that’s you!) sprays the dry mopping cloth with a cleaning solution before allowing the robot to go on its merry way. You can spray the pad, soak the pad or spray cleaners on your floor where the robot will be cleaning.
This makes the pad damp and the dampness is transferred to the floor where it helps clean the floor as it dusts. Some robots will do this for you. They will have a mechanical motor that takes water from a tank or reservoir and keeps the cleaning pad damp as the robot runs around.
A wet mop, then, is when the robot (and not the human) soaks the floor prior to the cleaning pad getting to that area. If you are familiar with those Swiffer mops that spray cleaning solution out as you push it around, it’s pretty much the same thing.
The main difference between damp and wet mopping is how the water is used. If the machine puts water directly on the floor, it is a wet mop, if it gets the floor wet by running a wet cloth over it, it is a damp mop. See the difference?
Most of the companies don’t. Which is why the chart above can seem confusing. I listed the dry/damp/wet abilities according to the owner’s guides. Though, now you will understand me when I describe it later on in the comparison section.
Should You Use Cleaning Solutions?
You can use cleaning solutions to aid the fragrance and cleanliness of your floors. There isn’t a law to state otherwise. Cleaning police won’t be showing up to arrest you for doing so. Unless you live in Montana, I hear those cops are relentless.
What you need to look for is if the MopBot has a reservoir or not, and if it does, if it has a mechanical system of releasing the cleaning solution or water onto the floor or pad.
There are robots that don’t have a mechanical method and instead rely on a simple pulley-style drip method where the little plunger is lifted every time the wheel goes around. Others have magnetic or electrical mechanisms that release the water at set intervals.
If you have a magnetic or electrical system, you should only use water inside the reservoir. Solutions will gunk up the moving parts and can jamb them open or closed, preventing optimal operation of the robot.
If you are spraying or soaking the pad yourself, then you can use whatever you want. A lot of people use a vinegar and water mix (1:16 ratio vinegar to water), plain water, or even commercial products like that pine smelling one, you know what I mean.
As long as the solution is safe for your floor type, feel free to use it. However, if you have a water tank or reservoir, you should use plain water only, unless the owners guide says otherwise.
A few Other Things to Take Note
The major aspects of making your selection have been covered. While no two robots are made the same and no two homes are built the same, your final choice will be a personal preference to you.
That being said, here are a few other things to think about while making your decision:
- How is the robot controlled? Some use wireless communications to allow for the use of mobile apps, voice commands through Amazon Alexa devices or remote controls. Do you need those things or can you get by just pressing a button on the machine itself?
- Is there an extraction method? Meaning will the robot sweep and vacuum as well as mop or does it only mop? You may need the robot to take care of some light vacuum duties, as well as mopping the floor unless you plan to sweep up before every mopping cycle.
- Does the robot have some form of containment? If there are areas of your home you wish to prevent access to, how is it done? Magnetic tape, battery operated devices, mobile app navigation blockades or old fashioned putting a heavy box in the way?
- Your budget. Overspending can cause regret (or worse if your wife finds out) if you spend too much and need to make adjustments in other financial areas.
Since you are here I will assume that either you just like my writing so much you read everything I do, or you really need a MopBot. The good news is, if it happens to be “all of the above” then this is the article for you.
The following list contains four of the top rated most reviewed mopping robots on the market. Perhaps your next robot is on this list, how cool would that be?
bObSweep PetHair Plus
The bObSweep PetHair Plus was one of the original combination robots to enter the market. So yeah, it is a few years older than the others on the list, but that doesn’t make it less popular. bObSweep did it right.
The PetHair Plus offers a combination of a halfway decent low pile carpet vacuum robot with a microfiber mopping pad attachment for dry or damp mopping.
The Mopping Isn’t Really Mopping
The PetHair Plus uses a dry mop that you can spray with cleaner or soak in a solution prior to use. As the robot runs around in its sporadic cleaning pattern, it will drag the cloth behind it (okay, technically it’s not being dragged behind it like a tin can on a just married decoration) as it sweeps and vacuums the flooring.
You also have the option of leaving the pad dry and spraying the floor with your cleaner, though this isn’t really recommended, as the liquid can (and will) get sucked up into the vacuum port, possibly damaging the insides and motor.
The Battery Is Large And Capable
One of the largest celled batteries on the market and certainly on this list, the bObSweep lithium-ion battery packs a punch. Though I am disappointed in its lack of runtime (up to 75 minutes) as most other robots with that size battery will clear two hours.
However, 75 minutes should be more than plenty to run around your hard floor surfaces and scoop up any remnants of dirt, dust and debris before mopping the floor as it passes. If it isn’t, the robot will recharge itself when the battery gets low. It will not resume cleaning, though, until you tell it to.
The Containment Has A Weird Name But Works Great
bObSweep has a containment cube called the bObi blOck that sends out an infrared beam to block off areas of your home you don’t wish the robot to enter.
When the beam is detected by the robot, it will stop and change direction, avoiding the area on the other side of the beam. You can use this to block off entire rooms, specific areas of a room or items and belongings on the floor you are too lazy to clean up before the robot comes along.
- The large celled battery provides enough charge to clean most homes in a single charge.
- The containment method works great in various places.
- The remote control lets you program the robot to clean how you want.
- HEPA filtration allows for reduction of in-home allergens.
Areas of Concern
- No wireless communications mean manual operation only.
- The cleaning patterns could be better to allow more thorough cleaning.
- The brush bar can scratch softer surfaces so you should test prior to letting it loose.
Bottom Line: For an all-around combination cleaner, the bObSweep PetHair Plus is a good candidate. The mopping may be a little lackluster, but it will help maintain between regular cleanings.
UPDATE! The bObSweep PetHair Plus now has an additional part you can purchase separately that allows for a wet mop experience. It is a water reservoir that the mop pad attaches to that allows the pad to stay wet while mopping. If you want to have a more realistic mopping experience, give the reservoir a try.
ILIFE shot into the limelight in 2015 with their robot vacuums and seemed to take over homes and the Internet with praise and rave reviews. After a few months, the praise died down as the excitement dwindled.
However, they kept producing newer versions with updates and added features. The V series came out a couple of years later which added the ability to mop with the A series vacuum features..
The Filtration is Top Notch
While you won’t find a HEPA certification label on the box or the machine, you will find that there is a two-stage dual filter that is called “high-efficiency.” If you are a long time reader of my articles (hello again!), you will know what high-efficiency means.
For those that don’t (welcome, enjoy your stay!) high-efficiency is what these robot companies are calling their HEPA quality filters without going through the actual certification process. They still collect particles down to 3 microns in size (this means all pollens, pet dander, dust mites, etc.). It just doesn’t have the label.
No, I don’t know why they no longer go through the HEPA certification process, but the bottom line is that the filters are still the same.
Wet Mop Capable With Removable Water Tank
The ILIFE robot is a combination robot that uses suction for extraction of dirt and debris. Much like the bObSweep, the robot will vacuum hard floors and low, tight pile carpet only. There isn’t a brush roll on the V8S and instead, it uses two side brushes to sweep edge, corners and centerline dirt under the machine.
The water reservoir is an attachment that you fill with water (only water, no solutions) that will drip onto the mopping pad underneath. ILIFE calls it a wet mop, which, in essence, it is. Though it falls into the damp mop category as water is not put directly onto the floor.
This is good if you have wood grain or laminate flooring that doesn’t hold up well to large amounts of water being poured on to it directly. The water tank holds 0.3 liters of water and uses what ILIFE calls i-Dropping technology to control the amount of water released from the tank.
Because the water control is internal and mechanical, you can’t use solutions in the tank. Any solution will create build up which will prevent the water controls from operating correctly. It is also very difficult to get inside to clean these areas.
- Great Battery life for long, continuous cleaning.
- The water tank isn’t too large and doesn’t leak like previous models.
- High-quality filtration keeps your air and floors free of allergens.
Areas of Concern
- No brush roll, so good vacuuming is out, but you should run it once without the reservoir to clean up any debris.
- Remote and local controls are your only options.
- Sensors work well but it doesn’t really know how to separate carpet from hard flooring.
Bottom Line: ILIFE continues to impress with their innovations and frequent updates. The V8S is one of the best models to date but still lacks the ability to efficiently clean all floors, even just as a MopBot.
iRobot is the reigning king of robotic vacuums with their Roomba line, the robots that started it all. They also have MopBots that are specifically designed to mop floors. There is no need for filtration as there isn’t a collection bin and the Braava 380t is a mopping robot that works fairly well.
Not the Greatest, Not the Worst
If you are looking to keep your floors mopped and shining between chore days, the Braava 380t could be your answer. It isn’t the best mopping robot on the market, but it also isn’t the worst.
If I am to compare it to something, so you get an idea of its capabilities, think of a Swiffer with a wet pad that runs itself. That is, in a nutshell, what the 380t is.
The 380t is missing some standard features, but for the price and what it does, it works well.
It Uses an Old Style Battery But Gets the Job Done
The Braava uses a NiMH battery instead of the more popular lithium-ion. While this is a downgrade, it still performs well enough. Because there are no wireless communications, remote controls or extra battery draining features, the robot can cover quite a bit of area on a single charge.
The MopBot will run up to 80 minutes, which, at the speed it travels and the navigation system the iRobot machines use (they call it iAdapt, and it works better than most), it should have no trouble sweeping and mopping up your entire floor.
Unless you happen to have a massive floor plan or a ton of obstacles in the way, you shouldn’t have any issues running the robot once to clean the entire home.
What you will have a problem with is recharging the battery. The robot doesn’t dock automatically. In fact, it doesn’t dock at all. You have to manually pick the machine up and place it on the charger.
If you want it to run in a different area, you will also need to pick it up and carry it to the new location. While this can be a tad inconvenient, it still means you aren’t the one mopping.
No Extras, Of Any Kind
Because the Braava is just a mopping robot, there aren’t any extras associated with the machine. There are no external communications, not even a remote control. Everything is done locally on the unit itself.
There also isn’t a way to use voice commands, mobile apps or scheduling. This means the smaller, less capable battery does what it needs to do to perform its duties.
- The robot finishes the job, usually on a single charge.
- No extras to get in the way, it just mops, wet or damp or dry.
- No filters or extra maintenance required.
Areas of Concern
- There isn’t a scrubbing action to work out dried spills or stains.
- Local only controls limit your abilities.
- Must be carried to the charging dock or other rooms.
Bottom Line: If you like the idea of a Swiffer Wet, but you don’t want to do the work yourself, the Braava 380t might be exactly what you are looking for.
iRobot Braava Jet 240
The Bravva Jet 240 is the only true wet mopping robot on this list, and the best wet mop on the market. Though it may not be suitable for you, the water spray could cause more damage than good. It all depends on your floor.
Not for Every Hard Floor Surface
Grained wood and some laminates will not do well with direct water sprays. You will need to check the installers guidelines for your floor type if you are concerned.
If you have tile, stone, granite, marble, hardwood, softwood, or have been approved for direct water introduction; your floor will be fine. It will also get the best clean possible.
It Vibrates as It Mops
The Jet 240 pulses the mopping pad as it runs through the house. There are also three different modes (two for wet mopping one for dry mopping). The pad will agitate back and forth as the machine travels to scrub he floor as it mops gently.
This will translate into cleaner floors and more water being put down, but it shouldn’t pose much of a problem for you.
Good Battery, Bad Dock
The Braava Jet 240 is tiny, and like the 380t it doesn’t self-dock when the battery gets low. You need to manually plug it in to recharge.
What it does have, though, is a lithium-ion battery pack that results in a long runtime, a great performance and a spotless floor that is only beaten by hand scrubbing and manual mopping.
- True wet mop for a better clean.
- No unnecessary features to drain the battery.
- Little maintenance required.
Areas of Concern
- Some floors do not like direct water introduction and may cause problems.
- No external control options, or scheduling.
Bottom Line: The Braava Jet 240 is one of the most capable and least intrusive MopBots available. For the price point, it is also one of the most economical autonomous cleans you can get.
There you have it. Four of the top-rated mopping robots for your consideration. Each has its own good and bad. Depending on your home, flooring type and specific needs, you may find your next mopping robot right here.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns or snide remarks, use the comment section below. See you next time!