Buyer’s Guide: Robot Mops
Give your feet a rest and put one of these top-rated robot mops to work cleaning your floors.
Tired of making a mess and breaking your back manually cleaning floors with a conventional mop and a bucket of soapy water? Consider outsourcing the chore to a robot mop. These battery-powered, self-propelling mops can remove dirt, grime, and stains from tile, stone, wood, and other hard floors. This hands-off method of floor cleaning saves busy homeowners who have too little time (or too much floor!) to manually mop.
While most robot mops last for two to three years (thanks to a Lithium-ion battery)—much longer than manual mops, which tend to go dingy in six months to a year—you want to shop wisely because these high-tech cleaning tools also require a larger upfront investment. We’ve identified the essential mop features and functions to help you narrow your choice to models that offer them. Read on to learn which robot mops are worth your buck.
What the Best Robot Mops Offer
Before settling on a mopping robot, consider the following functions and features that set apart the best robot mops from the rest of the pack.
They mop, sure, but they vacuum, too! Single-use robot mops that only mop floors are generally among your cheapest options, ranging from $150 to $250. But hybrid models exist at a higher price point ($200 to $375) that can meet all of your flooring needs, mopping and vacuuming! Both types of mops feature a cleaning pad and a reservoir that must be filled with a special cleaning fluid or water, but hybrid models additionally feature a dustbin that can be removed and emptied after vacuum cycles. Single-use models are the better buy for homeowners with all or predominantly hard floors in their home and who have a standard vacuum cleaner they can use to clean the rare carpeted area. If you have a mixture of hard and carpeted floors at home or haven’t already purchased a separate vacuum cleaner, the hybrid models are worth the higher price point.
Pro tip: Always check the manufacturer’s specs for your floor to ensure that any cleaning fluids included with the mop are compatible with your floor; if they aren’t, you’ll need to buy (or make) a compatible cleaning fluid separately.
They feature multiple cleaning modes to tackle varying levels of soiled flooring. When you’re shopping for the best robot mop, pay attention to the cleaning modes each option boasts.
Typically, you’ll see these options:
• Wet mopping, when the robot mop releases a heavy amount of cleaning fluid and makes multiple passes over the floor to deep-clean it
• Damp mopping or sweeping, when the mop releases less fluid and makes fewer passes over floor than wet mopping
• Dry mopping or dry sweeping, in which case the mop makes a single pass over the floor to clear and pick up any moisture and the surface. You can run a dry mopping or dry sweeping cycle either after a wet mopping or damp sweeping session to dry the floor, or independently of a wet or damp cycle when your floors simply need a light cleaning.
On hybrid models, the vacuum function will either run concurrently with the mopping or sweeping cycle, or it will be available as a special vacuum mode that you can run independently of other cleaning modes.
Pro tip: If your flooring is made of a material that’s sensitive to moisture, e.g., wood, make certain that the model you choose features a damp mode, as this mode sprays a minimal amount of liquid on the floor and will stave off damage to the floors.
They have an above-average battery life. For cordless robots, good battery life (the amount of time a mop can run when fully charged) is a must. It can range anywhere from 30 to 200 minutes for a robot mop. To avoid the need for frequent recharging mid-clean, seek out a robot mop that can clean for between 60 and 90 minutes on a single charge. (And, keep in mind: This battery life will decrease little by little with every recharge, so it’s best to start strong.)
Most robot mops must be recharged in an included charging dock—of these models, some automatically return to the dock and recharge when the battery runs low, while others cannot auto-dock so must be manually returned to the charging dock. There are also models that do not come with a dock at all; these have a removable battery that must be charged in an included wall charger you mount to a wall outlet.
They have a coverage area that meets your needs. Coverage (the amount of floor surface space you can wipe down in a single cleaning cycle) can range from 100 to 1,000 square feet, depending on the model and the cleaning mode. Because the mop makes more passes over the floor in wet mopping and damp sweeping modes than in the dry mopping or dry sweeping modes, you’ll generally cover less surface area in a single cleaning cycle on one of these modes.
Pro tip: Bigger isn’t always better. Figure out the square footage of the flooring you’d typically mop, and don’t be lured into purchasing a robot mop just because it can cover twice that size.
They have reliable sensors to keep the mop from crashing. Furniture or stairs can interrupt the path of robot mops, but most come with sensors to work around such obstacles. The most advanced models have sensors that are intelligent enough to clean only within areas of the floor that you predefine.
They feature multiple control mechanisms. Most models feature controls for starting, stopping, and navigating located on the mop itself or with the included remote. More advanced models also let you control them via smartphone applications and/or through voice commands—a plus when your mop is located far away from you or when you need to clean in a tight space like beneath a sofa.
They let you schedule cleaning. Advanced robot mops allow you to schedule a cleaning in advance at a preselected date and time. This optional feature comes in handy if you need to tidy up floors at home while you’re at work or on vacation. Without it, you need to be home to start it up—but then you’ll also be around if you need to pull it out of a stuck position.
They’re conveniently portable. The smaller and lighter the mop, the easier it will be to transport as needed from room to room, floor to floor, or to and from the charging dock in the case of models that cannot auto-dock. Look for mops that are no more 15 inches in length or width and weigh no more than 5 pounds for optimal portability.
Top 3 Picks for Best Robot Mop
Need help narrowing down your options for a mopping robot? Consider these top-rated options vying for best robot mop on the market today. They meet the key functions and features above and have received high praise from experts and consumers.
Best Value Robot Mop: iRobot Braava Jet 240 Robot Mop ($169.99)
Dubbed the best single-use robot mop by PCMag, this wall-charging mop was rated 4.1 out of five stars by Home Depot customers for its smarts. It can automatically switch to the appropriate wet mopping, dry sweeping, or damp sweeping modes depending on which Braava cleaning pad you attach to the unit. Press the “Clean” button on the unit, and a jet spray of cleaning fluid and a vibrating cleaning head will work in tandem to bust dirt and stains on a floor that spans between 150 to 200 square feet. Plus, you’ll get up to an hour of cleaning power on a single charge. Available at Home Depot.
Best Single-Use Robot Mop: iRobot Braava 380t Robot Mop ($249.99)
Rated 4.1 out of five stars by Home Depot customers, this single-use robot mop with a four-hour battery life and an included non-auto-docking charging dock can damp-mop a coverage area of up to 350 square feet or dry-sweep up to 1,000 square feet in a single cleaning cycle. Set at a higher price point, it includes a cube with NorthStar Navigation technology that works like GPS to track where the robot has already traveled and tell it where to clean next. Available at Home Depot.
Best Hybrid Robot Mop: bObsweep PetHair Robotic Vacuum Cleaner and Mop ($229.99)
This hybrid mopping robot with a 90-minute battery life does it all. More than the combo cleaning efforts of sweeping dirt, mopping up stains, and vacuuming dust and pet hair, it also eliminates bacteria with UV light and airborne allergens and dust mites through HEPA filtration. Home Depot customers rate the multipurpose mop 4.4 out of five stars for its suite of high-tech features, including remote-controlled navigation, scheduled cleanings, and smart sensors that tell the robot to auto-dock and recharge when the battery is low. Available at Home Depot.