Robot vacuums have seriously taken over the internet, but vacuuming is such a mind-numbing chore that it’s easy to see why no one can shut up about these devices (including us).
Mopping is the only thing that might be worse than vacuuming — that hardcore scrubbing is no fun. However, we haven’t really seen robotic mops take off in the way their vacuum counterparts have.
But we want to change that.
So what’s the hold up, you ask? Many homes just don’t have as much hard floor space that would require regular mopping, and the technology behind a robot doing a thorough wet cleaning is a slightly more advanced than dry suction. But as more folks have seen how handy a robotic vacuum is, it was only a matter of time before they realized the serious convenience a robotic wet scrubber could bring.
So yes, robot mops are a thing now. But if you’re reading this, it means you’ve caught the market early and can get a grasp on the different types before it gets overwhelming. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of true robot mops and 2-in-1 robot vacuums to help you assess which type of helper your home needs.
True robot mops
When you think “robot vacuum,” you probably think iRobot — which isn’t surprising, as they have been one of the biggest leaders in the robot vacuum game. It’s not surprising then that they’re also the only major brand to dedicate a robot specifically to mopping, and have been working on perfecting the technology behind using a robot to give floors a truly deep clean. However, it is important to remember that the technology of the mops is much simpler than that of the Roombas, so things like smart navigation and running on a timed schedule are lacking.
The Braava jet 240 is like the mop version of the deep-cleaning Roomba 980 and is iRobot’s leading robot mop. Its ability to give heavy duty floor scrubbing is due to its precision spray jet (similar to a Swiffer Wet Jet), a feature we haven’t really seen in the robot mop market otherwise. This thorough wet mopping is ideal for serious sanitization and tackling things like grouted tile, which were previously hard AF to get into. The Braava jet is also smaller than iRobot’s other robot mop, allowing it to more easily squeeze between appliances like the sink and toilet. Three cleaning modes are available for versatile cleaning: Choose from wet and damp mopping as well as dry sweeping using the iRobot app, with the option to set up virtual walls to prevent the bot from consistently getting stuck.
One downside of the Braava jet is that it can only run for about 30-60 minutes at a time — and unlike its Roomba counterparts, it will not return to its dock when it needs to be charged. This is fine if your space isn’t big, but a slight bummer if you have a big area to cover in a short amount of time. The Braava jet is ideal for large kitchens, bathrooms, or offices or classrooms with tile floors that are constantly walked on by dirty shoes.
The iRobot Braava jet is regularly priced at $199, which is already a sweet price, considering it’s basically the most serious robot mop out there — plus even the cheapest Roomba is more expensive. It also frequently goes on sale for $179.99, which is even sweeter.
Meet the Braava jet’s big brother: The Braava 380t Robot Mop is iRobot’s other ahead-of-the-game robot mop. The main difference between the two is that instead of using a jet to spray like the 240, the 380t’s water is stored in a tank and uses a damp, reusable cloth to do its cleaning.This design makes the 380t ideal for cleaning large surfaces of tile, cement, and linoleum floors. The tank can also be filled with wood cleaning oil or polish, which makes the 380t ideal for homes with hardwood floors.
The 380t is also ideal for larger square footage as it can go for 90 minutes before needing to charge — a huge step up from the run time of the Braava jet. (And if you only need a dry sweeping without filling the tank, the 380t has a mode for that, too.) While the 380t does have GPS mapping technology of its own, many customers extend the cleaning path with NorthStar Navigation cubes, which connect to the mop and are set up in different rooms or levels of the home to create multiple cleaning areas without having to move the original cube. Like the Braava jet, the 380t will not go back to the dock when low on battery.
The Braava 380t is slightly more expensive at $299.99 (often on sale for $249). Still, that’s a super reasonable price when compared to the rest of the devices by iRobot.
These robot vacuum combos come equipped with a water tank that can be attached or removed from the device, often via velcro.
There are upsides and downsides to buying a 2-in-1, and they depend on your cleaning needs. If your home has a lot of hard floor to cover or floor that is dirtier than just a small spill or stain, a true robot mop is probably the way to go. However, if most rooms in your house are carpeted and you’d just like to have a mop handy for simple upkeep or damp dust mopping, a true mop may not be necessary — and having that vacuum side would be a hell of a lot more beneficial. Combination vacuums also have slightly smarter technology, meaning that unlike the true mops, the following devices will return to their dock when they need to be charged.
One of the main players in the combination category is the ILIFE V5s, a robotic vacuum equipped with a water tank. Just fill it up, stick a cleaning cloth on the bottom, and bam: You’ve got yourself a robot mop. Rated 4 stars on Amazon, buyers rave about the pet hair suction and the strength of the spot cleaning mop feature when using the remote control. Choose from spot or edge cleaning for specific jobs, or switch to the automatic feature for the V5s to come out of its cradle at random and return when it needs to be charged. Predetermined schedules can also be set, so unlike with the iRobot mops, you don’t have to be home to get the bot’s cleaning started.
As with any combination vacuum, the mopping feature probably won’t replace hardcore hand mopping or a jet mop. Some customers do note that the ILIFE’s cleaning path is somewhat random and that it tends to get stuck under lower furniture or appliances, but say that they simply set up some physical barriers to prevent that. If your floors face a lot of dirty shoes or dirty paws, the ILIFE V5s could be a life-saver when it comes to light maintenance mopping.
The ILIFE V5s is priced at $189.99, which is a stellar deal even if it was just a vacuum. So the fact that it’s a 2-in-1, has pretty high ratings, and is still under $200 is a serious steal and perfect for those balling on a budget. (A pro model with extended battery time is available for $199 and is an Amazon’s Choice product.)
Another good option for households with pets is the bObsweep PetHair Plus. This Amazon’s Choice product has seriously good reviews, with 87% of customers giving it a 5-star rating and positive comments about its ability to deal with pet hair.
This new model has improved suction and sweeping patterns, so the chance of this little guy getting stuck, sweeping where it has already swept, or not being able to find its charger are minimal. Like other combination vacuums, the mop consists of a water tank and reusable pads. Run time is about 75 minutes before the PetHair Plus will need to go back to its dock. The PetHair Plus also features a small display screen with updates, so you can always figure out where bObsweep is in its cleaning schedule. And the ability to be able to set schedules in general is a plus, as some robot mops are only able to work when you physically press the button on the bot.
Remember, this isn’t ideal for seriously soiled floors — but for things like spills or muddy paw prints, it’ll get the job done. However, customers mention that it’s perfect for a quick touch-up of hardwood or tile floors, especially if you use polish instead of water. Apparently, customer service is also stellar, so if your bObsweep has issues, you’re in good hands.
This bObsweep Robotic Vacuum Cleaner and Mop typically goes for $428.98 (in line with a few Roombas) but is almost constantly on sale.
Another contender in the combination category is the ECOVACS Deebot M80. Similar to iRobot, ECOVACS has been a strong force in the robot vacuum category, with numerous models and best sellers on Amazon. Though they haven’t devoted a device specifically to mopping yet, the Deebot M80 is a 2-in-1 device that uses a detachable water tank and reusable pads for mopping.
The reviews on the vacuum end are good, but again, they do do warn that the mop can’t replace a true, deep cleaning mop. However, reviews mention that when the tank is filled, the M80 mops and vacuums at the same time, and is able to recognize rugs (for the most part) so it can pause mopping while going over them. ECOVACS devices are a great choice for households with allergy-prone or asthmatic residents, as the bots are equipped with a filtration system to tackle airborne allergens or mites.
One main advantage of the Deebot M80 is its Amazon Alexa compatibility and the ECOVACS app. While many robot mops are only able to use a remote control, the M80 gives users much more control over when and where their bot cleans thanks to timed schedules. Some Amazon reviews do mention that this Deebot has a tendency to clean aimlessly or isn’t able to find its way back to the dock, but those customers also say that its mopping abilities make up for the navigation issues.
The Deebot M8 regularly goes for $229, and for a robot vacuum and mop with relatively high reviews on both features, is pretty amazing.