A side-by-side comparison of iRobot's Scooba 450 and Braava 380t.

Scooba 450 vs Braava 380t – Which One Fits Your Needs?

Since their inception in 2001, iRobot has not only become a household name but have set the standard for autonomous home cleaning robots. Their Roomba line is purchased more often and rated higher than any other botvac on the market.

It is no surprise, then, that their line of floor mopping robots has the same standards and expectations. This article will compare two of the best of their mopping robot lines: The Scooba 450 and the Braava 380t.

I will explain the differences and similarities of these two models, as well as give you a side-by-side comparison of their features and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.

Continue to the entire article below for the full details. However, if you just want to know what I think: The Scooba 450 is the better option.

Differences between the Mopping Bots

A side-by-side comparison of Scooba and Bravaa's cloth pad and rotating brushes.

  • The Braava uses a cloth pad to wipe the floor where the Scooba uses rotating brushes.
  • The Scooba uses iAdapt navigation technology where Braava uses GPS technology.
  • Design-wise, the Braava is square in shape to better reach corners. The Scooba is round like the Roomba’s it is modeled after.
  • Scooba 450 will vacuum as it goes. The Braava 380t does not have a vacuum mode.
  • After the job is complete the Scooba 450 will not return to the charging dock; the Braava will.

They Share Similarities As Well

  • Both models will work on all hard floor types.
  • Each robot offers two cleaning cycles.
  • Both the Braava 380t and the Scooba 450 have a one year warranty.

The Comparison Chart

Looking at the two robots side-by-side will help you determine which is best for your floors and budget.

  Scooba 450 Braava 380t
Battery Lithium-ion Lithium-ion
Dry Mop No Yes
Pre-Soak Yes No
Cleaning Stages 3 1
Vaccum Yes No
Auto Recharge No Yes
All Hard Floor Types Yes Yes
Runtime 40 minutes Up to 1 hour
Area covered Up to 300 square feet Up to 1000 square feet
Scheduling Yes No
Price Check on Amazon Check on Amazon

Features Details

I will cover some of the important features and options in greater detail here, so you know what you are getting into when you make your purchase.

1. Floor Types

Any hard floor needs to be cleaned, including mopping. This includes tile, vinyl, laminate and hardwood flooring.

What is important to note is that both the Scooba 450 and the Braava380t will mop any hard floor type. Technically they will also mop carpet, but we won’t do that. The one thing you should be aware of is the type of floor you have and how each particular model will work on it.

If you have tile, vinyl or laminate flooring, then either model will work for you. The main difference comes in the hardwood floor types. If you have sealed hardwood, then each model will do a good job keeping your floors clean.

However, if you have plank hardwood or grained hardwood, then you may want to skip on purchasing the Scooba 450. The Scooba model is a wet mopping machine that deposits large amounts of water on the floor, scrubs with rotating brushes and squeegees dry. Plank and grained woods do not tolerate a lot of water.

In this instance, the Braava might be your optimal choice. When using a cloth in either dry or damp mode, no water is ever deposited directly on the floor. The water is put onto the cloth and wiped across the floor.

Another concern may be in the laminate world. If you have soft laminate, such as the type that comes on large rolls and is cut to fit (instead of sheet laminate), the rotating brushes of the Scooba may cause damage to the laminate surface and eventually cause it to peel or mar.

Bottom Line: It’s a tie. Depending on your floor type, you should always check what type of cleaning is recommended for your type of hard floors.

A side-by-side comparison of Scooba's virtual wall and Bravaa's navigation cube.

2. Cleaning Methods

It is important to know how the two machines actually clean your floors. It could spell the difference between a purchase and a regret.

The Braava 380t uses a dry or damp cloth cleaning method. Not unlike a Swiffer, if you are familiar. You will have a small water tank that you fill prior to cleaning. Then you will attach the magnetic cleaning cloth to the bottom of the machine and set it to clean.

The Braava 380t uses a navigation cube to get a GPS coordinate of the area and map the room. Once it is done, it begins it’s cleaning cycle. The Braava 380t drips water from the tank onto the cloth and moves in straight lines throughout the area.

You also have the option of a dry mop where it will just run through with the cleaning cloth and an empty tank. You will still get cleaner floors but without any water at all. In this mode, the Braava 380t can clean up to 1,000 square feet on a single battery charge.

When it has completed its task, it will return to the charging dock. You can not schedule the Braava 380t to clean at a specific time. You must manually tell it to clean by pressing the clean button.

A demonstration of how Bravaa's navigation cube works with the mopping bot.

The Scooba 450 is a wet scrubbing mop. It comes with two tanks; one to fill prior to running and the other that will collect the dirty water.

Because the Scooba relies on iAdapt navigation technology and dirt detection sensors, the machine will run around the area cleaning in random patterns. As the robot runs around mapping the area, it will detect heavily soiled areas and spray them with water to pretreat the area.

As it goes along, it vacuums dust and debris before spraying water directly on the floor. The brushes then move through the water and scrub your floors clean. After this the squeegee will clean up the dirty water, returning it to the collection tank.

You can also use the Virtual Wall with the Scooba 450 similar to the Virtual Wall Barriers of the Roomba 800 and 900 series vacuums. Your floors will be scrubbed clean without the need for prior sweeping. With the Braava 380t, you will need to sweep up prior to it being used.

As the water is picked back up and stored in the collection tank, when the robot has finished its task, it will not return to the charging dock. Mixing water and electricity is not a good idea, and the Scooba waits for you to empty the tanks before recharging.

Bottom Line: Scooba 450 wins. It has a much more efficient cleaning cycle and ensures your floors are clean and dry.

3. Coverage Area

When you run the Scooba 450, you can expect up to 40 minutes of run time that will clean just about 300 square feet. However, if you have hardwood flooring throughout, you will have to run it multiple times for complete coverage.

There is an option for a quick clean that will run through the designated area in 20 minutes, to save battery and time.

The Braava 380t, on the other hand, will damp mop up to about 350 square feet on a single battery charge. The mechanical drip and navigation of straight line cleaning take up most of the battery life.

When you run the dry mop option, the battery has a longer life (as it is not using the mechanical drip motor) and can run through about 1,000 square feet on a single charge. This is ideal for quick dusting mopping through a large area that doesn’t need a wet mop very often, or as a touch up between regular mopping.

Bottom Line: Braava 380t wins. Being able to cover such a large area on a single charge is always going to be a bonus.

Frequently Asked Questions

I will answer some of your more prominent and common questions about the machines.

Q. What can I put in the water tanks?
A. Water. Technically speaking, you can put dry cereal in there if you were so inclined. You really aren’t limited. However, to avoid breaking the machine, voiding the warranty or causing damage to yourself or your floor the recommendation is water, or a heavily diluted water/vinegar mix. iRobot also sells a solution you can use, but water works very well.

A glimpse of iRobot's specially designed cleaning solution.

Q. I have uneven stone flooring, will these still work?
A. Yes. Under the assumption that you do not have more than 4 millimeters of height difference in a given area. If you do the squeegee on the Scooba 450 will not be able to suction the dirty water into the collection tank.

I also do not recommend using the Braava 380t on uneven stone flooring. The fiber pad does a great job cleaning but will degrade and tear easily on such a floor.

Q. Can I reuse the Braava 380t cleaning cloths?
A. Absolutely! The cloths are washable and reusable for many cleaning cycles.

Q. I have separate rooms that need mopping, can I move the cube or do I need multiple cubes?
A. The cube used for Braava 380t navigation and mapping can be moved. Every time it is set and turned on the Braava 380t will map and navigate the room it is in.

It should be noted that you can use two navigation cubes, but it really is not needed unless there are special circumstances, which are rare.

What We Like About the Braava 380t

  • Small, sleek and light.
  • Square design better tackles edges and corners.
  • Straight line mopping is great for hardwood and grained floors.
  • The GPS navigation cube ensures the entire area is covered.
  • Reusable dry and wet cloths for multiple cleaning types.

What We Like About the Scooba 450

  • Superior cleaning ability ensures the floors are spotless and shiny.
  • iAdapt technology allows for dirt detection and a deeper clean in heavily soiled areas.
  • True scrubbing, vacuuming and mopping in one machine.
  • Presoak means even the toughest spots get handled efficiently.

In Conclusion

Which robot mop is best for you? You really can’t go wrong with either choice, to be honest. Both the Scooba 450 and the Braava 380t do a great job keeping floors spotless and shiny.

If you are on a budget, don’t mind doing the sweeping (or already have a vacuum robot) and don’t have uneven stone flooring, the Braava 380t might be the best option for you.

However, if you desire a true mopping experience, don’t mind spending a little more and want to be able to schedule cleanings while you are home doing other tasks, the Scooba 450 is your answer.

For the best mopping job with a dry finish and reliability, I find the Scooba 450 the clear winner today, provided, of course, you have the correct floor type.

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