I think most people I know have heard of the Roomba — the automated robot vacuum cleaner — but have you heard of an automated mop? Similar to the iRobot Roomba, the iRobot Braava 380 is a scientifically advanced cleaning machine that scoots around your house doing your cleaning for you so you can get on with all the other million things you need or want to do. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? But does it actually get around the whole areas you want cleaned and does it do the job well? I put it to the test to find out.
The In-depth Review
What is the iRobot Braava 380?
The iRobot Braava 380 is a mopping robot that’s designed to give you sparklingly clean floors every day in the easiest possible way. It uses dry or damp cloths to mop hard surfaces to get rid of dust, dirt and smudges in your home to keep it looking its best all the time.
How does it work?
I found the iRobot Braava 380 really easy to use. I just had to attach a cleaning cloth, press either ‘Sweep’ or ‘Mop’ and it got to work.
In Sweep mode, the Braava dry mops the floors so that it can sweep up dust, dirt and hair. It moves in straight lines for the most efficient cleaning.
In Mop mode, the Braava damp mops your floors to clean away dirt and smudges. It uses a back and forth action much like I would normally use when mopping the floors to give them a really good clean.
In either mode, you can use disposable cleaning cloths or microfibre cloths that can be washed and reused again and again. The fibres on the cloths actually attract and cling to dirt and greasy grime so you can clean just with water, which I LOVE because I try to avoid using lots of chemicals in my home. Plus the water is held in the machine and automatically dampens the cloths whenever needed.
Does it cover the whole area?
One of my big queries about a robotic mop was whether it would manage to clean a whole area or just zoom about in a random pattern and miss big patches of dirt. Here’s what I found out.
The Braava 380 uses something called NorthStar, which I think is kind of like GPS for mops. Basically, it can tell where it is. It can also remember where it has been so that it knows where it still needs to go! Even if you stop it mid-clean to change the cloth, it can still remember where it is and where it’s been. It also builds up a map of your room so that it knows where walls are and where furniture and other items are.
When I set the Braava to work in my main living area, it went from one end of the room to the other, then it moved across a little and came back. So it basically moves back and forth across a room in parallel lines. When it reached an object it couldn’t go under, it just cleaned around it and carried on. What I was most impressed about was when it came to my dining table and chairs. It detected the chair and table legs and then sort of zig-zagged around under them to clean the whole area underneath. Then it went back to continuing its lines from where it last got to. When it had covered the whole room, it then went around the whole edge of the room to make sure it hadn’t missed anything!
Where can the Braava 380 clean?
I have a range of hard floors and carpets and rugs in my home, so I also wondered about whether I’d end up with damp carpets. Luckily, the Braava has smart sensors so it managed to avoid my carpets and rugs. It also has cliff-detection sensors so that it doesn’t fall down stairs.
Another thing that I loved about the Braava was that it was slimline enough to fit under my sofas and coffee table so it managed to clean areas that I wouldn’t even mop that regularly or wouldn’t be able to reach without moving all the furniture.
I also noticed that the square shape meant it could get right up close to walls and into corners so that it didn’t miss any dirt around the edges of my rooms and corridors. Plus it has soft-touch bumper cushions so that when it does touch walls (or even your furniture, the kids’ toys, the dog!) it doesn’t cause any damage.
How big an area can it cover and will it last to do it all?
With other cordless cleaners I’ve used in the past, they worked well for a short time and then just ran out of power. So I was keen to find out how well the Braava 380 would last.
In Sweep mode, the Braava could lean for up to three and half hours. In Mop mode, it lasted two and half hours, so it really was able to cover some big areas in one clean. In areas where it finished cleaning before that time, it just went back to where it started and automatically shut down. It doesn’t just keep going over and over the same area unnecessarily.
The pros? The ultimate in lazy cleaning the Braava will mop and sweep. With a growing trend of smaller homes and time our biggest modern day commodity, vacuums like the Braava 380 will become more relevant and useful.
The cons? In a house with 2 dogs and 3 cats I dont think the Braava has what it takes to work on its own. HOWEVER, I do think that it would be a cool “go to” when I am out of the house and I just want some semblance of cleaning to go on while I am out. I imagine too, if I was to do it every single day, like a habit as I went to school drop off, it would gain a lot more relevance in my life.
The Braava 380 also has a Turbo Charge Cradle, so it can recharge in just two hours.
For the purpose of this review I was gifted an IRobot Braava but all opinions, thoughts and everything else in this review (other than the cleaning) was all of my own.
To find out more about the iRobot Braava 380, visit irobot.com.au.