iRobot, known for its popular Roomba robot vacuum cleaners, has just announced a different kind of robot for your home—a robot mop called the Braava Jet 240.
However, this robot mop isn't a new invention. It's actually the latest model in iRobot's lesser-known Braava line of robotic mops. (If these bots do look familiar, that's because iRobot acquired their creator, Evolution Robotics, in 2012.)
As we've learned from testing robot vacuums, automated cleaners only really help maintain floors. So while the Braava Jet 240 might clean your slightly dirty floors, it might not do the same after a major spill. Regardless, there are plenty of things to like about this little robot, even if some feature omissions leave us feeling a bit skeptical, but we'll get to those shortly.
iRobot did quite a few things right with this robot. At $199, the Braava Jet is one of the most affordable products that iRobot has made, and it still packs plenty of tech for the money.
The Jet 240 uses three different types of pads for wet mopping, damp sweeping, and dry sweeping. When you place one of these pads in the robot mop, it automatically adjusts its cleaning pattern for each type of cleaning.
As it runs, the Braava twists the cleaning pad back and forth. It's no substitute for real elbow grease, but it's better than just rolling over stains like some robots. Overall, the Jet can clean up to 200-square feet while sweeping and 150-square feet while mopping. That makes it ideal for cleaning bathrooms and small kitchens.
And don't worry about it getting stuck. Seven inches at its widest, the compact design will allow the Braava Jet to squeeze around toilets, cabinets, and other hard-to-reach places, which is something people with back problems will likely appreciate.
After the cleaning is done, you can eject the dirty pad into the garbage without touching it just by pressing a button on top of the unit.
What isn't that good
Robot vacuums work best when you set them on an automated schedule—a once-over every day will help maintain your floors. That works really well for vacuums because dust doesn't get tougher to clean over the course of the day.
Stains that need a mop, however, usually get harder to clean as they dry onto the floor. But the Braava Jet 240 can't be set on a schedule. It lacks a charging dock like its cousin the Roomba, having a plug-in charger instead. So it likely won't replace your hand mop.
The other issue with the Braava Jet is its long-term costs. The Jet comes with two of each kind of cleaning pad—refills for each of them currently cost $7.99 for 10. That's a little more expensive than Swiffer Wet Jet pads, but with a much larger upfront cost. And if you opt to get the washable pads, they cost $19.99 for two.
We haven't had a chance to test the Braava Jet 240, so we can't say for certain if it can turn a dirty floor into a clean one. But even if it works, it may be just too expensive for some folks to put down the mop.