As children, we were all assured that by the time we were grown up and had our own homes, household chores and cleaning duties would be carried out by robots. So imagine our disappointment when, having all grown up, we're still taking out the trash bags and mopping our own floors. Come on! Fortunately iRobot are getting us closer to that Jetsons-inspired future, and the iRobot Braava Jet Mopping Robot is one giant leap in the right direction.
We're no strangers to iRobot, having previously reviewed two of their robotic vacuum cleaners, the Roomba 880 and the Roomba 700 (which was also our first ever review), so we know they 'give good robot'. However, the iRobot Braava Jet is quite different in appearance, being boxy in design and a lot smaller and lighter. There is a convenient carry handle on top... and not much else.
To get the plucky wee chap working on mopping your floors, you simply insert one of the three choices of cleaning pad. You can pick either a wet mop, a damp sweep, or a dry sweep, with the robot following a pre-programmed clean from then on. So if your kitchen floor needs a wet mop, stick on the appropriate pad, set it down, and it will start.
The iRobot Braava Jet Mopping Robot features a neat little spray nozzle on the front, so as it moves around, carefully avoiding furniture and ensuring the whole floor area is covered, it squirts a mist of water in front of the mop pad. The pad itself vibrates gently (on the wet and damp settings) to dislodge dirt and grime on the floor. It's pretty nifty to watch.
It will make its way around the room quite slowly and carefully, and also very quietly (well, quieter than the robot vacuum cleaners, that is). We need to be honest here, though; right now no robot can do the job of an elbow grease-powered mop on dried-on dirt. We first set it going on a floor that hadn't been mopped for over a month (don't judge us!) and it couldn't handle the worse of the muck. However, just like it's bigger sucking brothers, the iRobot Braava Jet was extremely effective on a daily basis, to keep the level hygiene high. So don't expect too much if you haven't already brought the floor in question up to a fairly decent standard.
There is no clever self-charging dock with this, as there often is with other iRobot gadgets. Instead you have to manually plug it in to charge, which is no real bother. We used ours every couple of days on the kitchen floor, and found we needed to charge it up after two goes, but it all depends on how much floor it needs to cover (and which setting you favour - the wet mop mode uses more juice).
Our favourite setting was to let it go with the dry sweep pad on. No water is used, and the pad doesn't vibrate; it simply gives the whole room a single pass, collecting dirt and stray hairs as it goes. Once finished you simply eject the pad with the press of a button, so you don't even have to touch it. Which was nice. It was really quite shocking how much grime it managed to pick up, even on days immediately after the floor had been swept and mopped. Humans are gross.
So it might not be quite capable of doing the mopping while making us a coffee, but we feel that the iRobot Braava Jet Mopping Robot is one step closer to that reality. If you hate cleaning your hardwood, tiled, or stone floors, but love keeping your gaff constantly clean and tidy, this could be the robot you're looking for.