There aren’t many people out there who enjoy mopping and sweeping, and for those of you that are disagreeing with that statement – seek help. The chore of mopping in my houses ranks somewhere between doing doggie poop patrol in the backyard and regrouting the bathroom. That’s not to say that mopping is a difficult chore – tt’s just something that you constantly find yourself doing in a family household.
So needless to say I was very excited when I dipped into the Robot Stockpile testing fund, and ordered a brand new iRobot Braava 380t. It wasn’t long before a package arrived from Amazon, and I was ready to start my review.
I’ve tested numerous iRobot products in the past, and their quality has continually been improving over the past few years. While some of their earlier models did suffer from some technical issues, the last few products that I’ve tested, like the iRobot Roomba 880 have been nearly flawless in their operation.
After getting the iRobot Braava 380t up and operational, I’m happy to say that the level of quality carries over to this little cleaning robot, and even if by some off chance you suffer some issues with your robot, the company iRobot is renowned for its excellent return policy.
Just like all of the other iRobot models, the iRobot Braava 380t is able to guide itself through your house and avoid any pitfalls like drop-offs, stairs, and carpeted areas that it wouldn’t be able to clean. It can also navigate its way through furniture and decorations into areas that you would think it couldn’t possibly reach.
The Braava 380t comes with something called the NorthStar Navigation System 2. To put it simply, it works something like a GPS system for the little cleaning robot. Through the use of this system, you can decide what rooms you want the robot to clean and also indicate which rooms you want it to clean afterwards. The way that you do this is to place cubes around your house, which are small and unobtrustive, and they help to guide the robot to the rooms that you want cleaned. (Don’t worry, it doesn’t look like the Borg have set up shop in your house.)
With the iRobot Braava 380t you should be able to get around 3 hours of dry sweeping in an area, and close to 2 hours of wet mopping.
You also have the choice of using either a disposable cleaning cloth (sort of like a Swiffer pad), or a reusesable Reservoir Pad with Pro-Clean microfiber cloth. The Reservoir Pad is detachable and is easily filled and emptied over a kitchen sink. It is also relatively easy to clean, so it can be reused again and again.
Through the use of the Reservoir Pad, the Pro-Clean microfiber will be kept wet for the duration of the mopping of the hard-surface. The company claims that up to 350 sq.ft can be cleaned in a single go, though from past experience you probably want to revise that number slightly downwards.
It is limited to use on hard surfaces, so don’t go into this expecting that it will also clean your carpets for you. This is strictly for sweeping or mopping hard surfaces, which is something that it excels at.
After the iRobot Braava 380t arrived at my front door, I did the usual controlled demolition to open the over packaged Amazon box, and freed the robot to start working on my floors. My kitchen and hardwood living room see a lot of traffic from people and pets, so this little cleaning robot was going to have its work cut out for it.
After getting it set up, and letting it charge to full, it was time to turn it loose on the house. The robot immediately set to work cleaning the kitchen floor, moving along the edges of the walls, and worming its way between the chairs around the kitchen table. When it found a particularly dirty spot, it would reverse and “scrub” the spot until it was clean, which I found to be pretty impressive.
I gave it a few trial runs using the disposable cloth, and the reusable Reservoir Pad. I was especially impressed with the disposable cloth, as it picked up the pet hair tumbleweeds that somehow manage to elude even the most determined cleaning efforts in my house.
The mopping was equally good, but I have to admit that they wouldn’t equal a true scrub down. This robot may be great for a quick scrub down, but if you have a young child or dog tracking mud through the kitchen, you’re more than likely going to have to roll up your sleeves and do it the old fashioned way.
Even with my sometimes cluttered living room, this model never became stuck in my house, and found its way under all of the furniture and into locations that I didn’t think it could possible reach. If it finds an area that it can’t reach, it will work its way around until it’s sure that it has cleaned all areas of your floor.
After a few weeks of operation, I have to say that this is an excellent model, and I would recommend this to anyone with a hard surfaced area in their house. It makes mopping a simple chore that can be performed while I’m working on something else, and only requires occasionally checks to make sure that everything is ok.