iRobot Braava 380t Review
iRobot is universally known as one of the pioneers of robotic vacuums thanks to the success of the Roomba but did you know that iRobot also manufactures other robots that perform different tasks?
The Braava 380t is one such product that has two cleaning modes – a dry sweeping mode and a wet mopping mode. This product does not have any vacuum motor so you won’t be able to use this effectively cleaning a large area.
It will work best cleaning a confined area such as the kitchen or bathroom.
The Braava is formerly known as the Mint robotic floor mop but after iRobot purchased Evolution Robotics for $74 million dollars, the Mint was rebranded to Braava.
This product will work only on bare floor surfaces like tile, marble or linoleum and unlike the Roomba vacuums that automatically return to the charging station after a cleaning cycle, this robot does not give you that benefit.
You will have to carry this robot after it finishes mopping and place it vertically on its charging dock. And when you need to use this again, you will have to pick up the robot set it on the floor then run the cleaning process again.
Let’s look at the features of this autonomous mop:
- Uses Northstar navigation system that uses GPS to help the robot keep track of areas it has cleaned until it finishes the mopping cycle
- Two cleaning modes – sweeping and wet mopping mode
- Turbo charge cradle charges the robot in just two hours
- Two microfiber towels included – a white dry sweeping towel and a blue towel for wet mopping
- Since it does not have a vacuum motor, this robot is whisper quiet
- One year warranty from iRobot
- Great for mopping bare floor like tile and marble
- Utilizes an efficient cleaning pattern thanks to the NorthStar Navigation that uses a GPS signal
- Microfiber mops are reusable so you don’t have to constantly buy new pads
- Simple interface is easy to use
- No remote or scheduling
- When mopping is done it will not go back to a charging station like Roomba does, you will have to carry it to its charging cradle
- Pads are small so it will not work well in a large room
- Only works on cleaning light to moderate messes
What to expect from this sweeping and mopping robot?
First things first, this robot does not have any vacuum motor in it so do not expect it to suck in dirt like a Roomba. What it has is a microfiber towel that microscopic dust and dirt cling to. In essence this product works like a Swiffer only it does the work for you.
Like the newer Roomba 980 it does it in a back and forth cleaning motion then works the edges. Unlike the Roomba it does not have any dirt bin, all the dirt sticks on the mop. Also it does not have any base to return to automatically when the cleaning cycle is done.
You will have to pick it up and place it on a charging stand.
Then when you need to use it again, pick up the robot take it where you need to clean and choose a cleaning mode.
There is no remote or any scheduling feature in this robot.
On top of the robot you have three buttons – the sweep button on the right, power button at the middle and wet mopping button on the right.
Simple and easy to use but you don’t get a remote.
This robot mop is depending on a cube-like device called the Northstar Navigation. It uses a GPS signal to help the robot map and area and keep track of areas it has covered.
According to iRobot this device uses a signal to map the area, mapping walls, obstacles and drop off points, basically this device is the eyes of the robot without it the robot will not function properly.
You have to place this cube on a high point inside the area this robot will mop on.
Two Cleaning Pads
Out of the box, this robot has two cleaning pads. The white pad is for sweeping and the blue pad is for damp or wet mopping. Along with the two pads are two brackets – one with a water tank for the wet mopping function and bracket for sweeping.
Both of these use a magnet to stick to the robot which makes it easy to attach and detach.
Like what I’ve mentioned several times in this review, this robot does not have the traditional charging dock that robot vacuums use, instead it uses what iRobot calls a charging cradle where you have to physically attach the robot to after the cleaning cycle.
It only takes two hours to recharge with this charging cradle.
Navigation and Cleaning Performance
This robot has two cleaning modes, a sweeping mode using the white microfiber towel and the wet mopping mode with the blue towel.
In mopping mode it does the same pattern but it goes in a back and forth motion similar to what you do when you mop.
Watch this video to see what I mean…
You will notice that even on a dirty tiled surface using just a damp microfiber towel soaked in water and cleaning solution, it did a really good job cleaning the floor.
Take note that he did not attach the water reservoir, just a damp towel. If you’d start with a dry towel and a filled up reservoir you will need to what a little bit for the towel to be wet but if you start with a damp towel, you will immediately see the effects.
I like using this technique because it eliminates the waiting time plus the back and forth mopping motion gives additional agitation.
With the dry sweeping mode, it will not do as good as a job because it lacks the back-and-forth mopping motion needed to dislodge grime.
You are better off using a robot vacuum if your goal is just picking up dirt and dust.
Here’s another video of the Braava 380t in action this time cleaning an absolutely filthy floor full of paw marks, pet hair and other nasty stuff….
What Consumers Say?
A lot of the consumers agreed on one thing, this robot will not deep clean floors. It is meant to be used as a mop on a light to moderately soiled floor.
If you try using this on a very dirty you will end up disappointed because it does not have any scrubbing mechanism like the one found in the iRobot Scooba.
For those who’ve used it for what it’s for they were pretty satisfied and said that it has helped them with their wet mopping needs. If you use this every day you will notice that your floors will be cleaner and since this is an autonomous device, all you have to do is get it from the charging station, place it in the room you want to mop then turn it on.
It will do the rest for you. A full charge will last for roughly 3 hours.
As a dry mop/sweeper, don’t set your expectations to high because as a sweeper, this robot will disappoint. You can only pick so much dirt with a dry and even a damp microfiber towel, it will only work in a small room.
Also you cannot schedule this to clean automatically and it does not come with a remote.
This robot is a great option if you want a cleaning tool to wet mop any bare floor like tile or marble. I like the back-and-forth mopping motion that it brings to the table. You can use hot tap water plus cleaning solution to help dislodge grime and dirt on these types of surfaces.
The water reservoir is a good solution but I feel that if you start off with a dry mop in wet mop mode, it takes a while before the mop to get wet and if you need that immediate punch, you will have to start off with a damp mop.
You can buy an extra mop so that you have an extra while cleaning the other. These mops are also machine washable just remember not to put any fabric softener just use regular detergent.
Overall this is a good buy maybe a better solution than the more expensive Scooba.