At home I recently had installed a new hardwood floor and with the kids coming in and out my nice new floor ended up with muddy footprints all over it, requiring frequently cleaning and for someone that loves gadgets I thought there had to be a better way of doing this.
Well there is using a robotic cleaner, there are plenty of options to choose from and I looked at some of the robotic cleaners from iRobot. For my floor I wanted a cleaner that mopped the floor rather than vacuum so I picked the Braava 380 which is a mopping robot.
The robot doesn’t have a docking station like the Roomba models. It come with a charger, a dry floor cleaner and a wet floor cleaner. There are two cleaning methods, there is a dry sweep mode where it goes up and down sweeping with a dry microfiber cloth and a wet mode that mops the floor using a wet microfiber cloth in a kind of Y shape pattern. It has a small water reservoir built in to the mop attachment to keep the cloth damp during cleaning. To navigate around the home it uses a Northsart Navigation Cube that takes two C type batteries (supplied). It’s basically a satnav for the Braava as it maps out the room and enables the iRobot to cover the whole room without missing any of it.
To get cleaning you place the cube in the room and turn it on, place the Braava in the room and select your cleaning mode. It then pairs with the cube which is uses to work out the shape of the room and helps it navigate around (so it knows where is it at any time). Once you set it off mopping it starts cleaning by moving forward and backward navigating around the room. As it hits an obstacle it negotiates around it remembering where it needs to go back to, you can leave it going and when its finished it seems to clean along the edges and then returns to the place it started.
I tried this in my hallway which is long and narrow and it did a great job cleaning the marks of the floor, it will also pickup any hair and bits from the floor as they stick to the microfiber cloth. If you have a lot of bits on the floor it would probably be a good idea to vacuum it first but it does a great job cleaning. It was also pretty fast taking 20 minutes or so for the hallway.
I then moved it into my living room / dining room where there are sofas, tables and chairs for it negotiate which make the whole process take a lot longer. Once it has finished you can take off the cloth rise it and it’s ready to use again.
I found it would do a good couple of hours cleaning between charges which is all my downstairs floors, once I have finished with it I stick it back on charge and then it’s ready to go again a couple of hours later. I also found that the it manages to navigate around all the downstairs rooms by placing the cube on one of the rooms it wanders off and does all the cleaning. Most of the time you can leave it to it but a couple of times it did get stuck so you need to give it a hand, after a month of using it I found that happened only two or three times.
It does a great job cleaning, as I have already said if you have a lot of bits on the floor it would be a good idea to hoover it first or if there are any really dirty parts of the floor they may need some attention but for general cleaning of the floor and collecting up dust it does a great job. I have a couple of cabinets that often got missed then I manually cleaned the floor but the Braava never misses them and cleans it very well.
After month of use I have found our floor is a lot cleaner as it’s so easy just to kick off the 380 to clean. You also tend to keep the floor clear of items such as shoes as the kids know they have to move them so our robot can clean up. So far I have been very impressed. The Braava costs £229 on Amazon. Here is a quick video review of the iRobot Braava 380: