Most people know iRobot for its line of Roomba vacuums, but the Massachusetts-based company offers a whole array of robotic cleaners, from gutter cleaners to pool cleaners to floor scrubbers. Today it's expanding its line of floor cleaners, to include a cheaper, simplified model.
The new Braava Jet Mopping Robot is a little jet-spraying robot that offers three different modes for cleaning floors: dry sweeping, damp sweeping, and wet mopping. It's a small bot, measuring 6.7 by 7 by 3.3 inches — small enough for some pretty compact spaces, but probably not tiny enough to get into really cramped quarters behind the toilet, or something. It alternates between systematic cleaning (moving back and forth in even rows) and V-shaped cleaning patterns, depending on which mode you're using.
The 2.7-pound bot is built with a small tank that holds about 150mL of water, basically enough for 150 square feet of wet mopping or 200 square feet of damp/dry cleaning. The detergent actually comes from the detachable pads, so you're not putting detergent in the tank and potentially clogging up the nozzle. Since the bot was designed with just one button, iRobot has come up with a clever way to tell the bot which cleaning mode you want: the bot has an optical sensor on the underside that can "read" the patterns on the different cleaning pads you attach to the bot.
Unfortunately, the new Braava lacks some of the best features of its Roomba cousin — it can't be controlled via remote or mobile app and won't automatically return to a charging dock — but it's arguably one of the most adorable iRobots you could keep in your house.
It's also not iRobot's first Braava floor cleaner, but iRobot was clearly striving for simplicity with this one. The previous model, the Braava 380t, has three different buttons, has a much bigger battery, and works with additional "navigation cubes" to map out where the cleaning needs to happen. It also costs $299.
The new Braava Jet Mopping Robot goes on sale today for $199. It will ship with a bunch of boxes of cleaning pads, but after those run out, a box of 10 pads will cost you about $7.