I love gadgets! Having owned an iRobot previously (an old sweeper model) I was keen to try out a floor mopping robot.
As this is unavailable for purchase in Australia, I ordered it from US Amazon who luckily shipped this particular item overseas:
The iRobot arrived about 3 1/2 weeks later and I was looking forward to giving it a try, as most of our house is tiled.
The iRobot itself was a little smaller than I expected, a roughly 20cm box and about 8cm high. Unlike the Roomba models, this one doesn’t auto dock itself when it’s done, but instead needs to be placed upright on a stand to charge.
The iRobot has two modes – Sweep and Mop. Each mode uses a different cleaning cloth designed to be used for Dry (sweep) and Wet (Mop). Sweeping will make it go in straight lines back and forth, like a lawn being mode. It’s a dry mop too so at the end of it’s journey it will leave a pile of dust/hair/lego pieces to be picked up.
The Mop mode is what I bought this for, where you add a little water to a reservoir and let the little guy go around your house similar to how you’d run a quick mop over the floor. Instead of going in a straight line lawnmower style, it does a bit of an arc one way, reverses then goes the other way and inches along at the same time. Here’s a graphic to show what I mean:
iRobot Mopping – ignore the tiles getting trippy.
The iRobot can go for a few hours between charges, and I had no problems with it going into carpet or getting stuck – it has a bumper that detects when it hits something, and smarts built into it which maps what it’s learnt on the current expedition (it doesn’t save this into memory).
There’s also a portable little cube that you’re supposed to put as far away as possible from the base station, which gives the iRobot a reference point. I’m figuring this is so if the wheels spin it doesn’t think it’s travelled further than what it really has (either distance or angle).
It actually does a decent job if you don’t have a dirty pawed troublemaker walking around on the wet floor leaving footprints where the hard working iRobot has just cleaned.
It runs rather quietly too, since all it’s doing is spinning it’s wheels and slowly soaking out a bit of water. It works well if you turn it on as you are leaving the house so you can come back to a nice shiny floor.
There’s not too much else to say about the iRobot Braava 380t – it works as advertised, it’s not cheap but it’s made and designed very well, and it makes a few little songs depending if it’s being docked for charging, starting a cleaning routine or wants to go back to it’s dock as it’s had enough.
Remember though, this is the equivilent of pushing a wet rag along your floor and that’s it, so don’t expect it to clean up everything. This is more of a maintenance robot than a repair robot!
I’d be tempted to actually try the Scooba version of the iRobot which does actual scrubbing of floors too, but will have to save up a bit more for that one.