iRobot Braava Jet 240 Mopping Robot Review
- Battery Life
- Collision Detection
- Cleaning Capability
- Ease of Use
While it’s true that mopping robots aren’t quite as robust as their vacuuming counterparts, this little guy does an amazing job, especially given his modest price. Braava 240 is recommended for anyone who hates mopping, and is looking to free up more time in their day.
Do you like nothing better than to spend half your day mopping floors? Are you the kind of person who wakes up every morning looking forward to housework, and who gets a special thrill out of doing that kind of back breaking manual labor?
If you are, then you can go ahead and stop reading now, because you’re not going to like our detailed Braava 240 review one bit. On the other hand, if mopping is something you kind of dread, and find yourself putting off until your floors are looking nasty, then keep reading, because the Braava Jet 240 can change your life.
I’m not kidding. I bought one about a month ago, and it totally changed mine. I recaptured several hours a week of my time, and that makes the little robot my new best friend.
Having said that, you should know upfront that it’s not a perfect machine. In fact, the technology that mopping robots are built around isn’t as advanced as the technology that vacuuming robots use. It’s just not as advanced, so the mopping bot has certain limitations that may make it less than ideal for some people.
We’ll cover every aspect of the Braava Jet 240 in the sections that follow, so you’ll have all the information you need to determine whether or not it’s something you want to invest in.
Let’s jump right in and see what this little guy can do!
An Overview of the iRobot Braava Jet 240 Floor Mopping Robot
Features of the iRobot Braava Jet 240 Floor Mopping Robot
Form Factor, Footprint & Aesthetic
The first thing you’ll notice about the Braava Jet 240 mopping robot is that it’s tiny! Measuring just 6.7” x 7” x 3.3” and weighing in at a scant 3 pounds, this little robot was designed to operate in tight spaces, which makes it perfect for mopping in and around your bathroom fixtures. It can easily slide behind the toilet and around the sink, mopping those places that humans often struggle to get to.
It’s basic white, trimmed in blue, and made from sturdy ABS plastic. Not an attractive bot but cute in its way. I named mine Bob, and he’s a companion to Harvey, my Eufy robotic vacuum bot. Together, the two of them tag-team the grunt work of keeping my little house clean. I’m left with just a few minutes of maintenance every day, and they do all the hard stuff!
I mentioned earlier that mopping robots aren’t as advanced as their vacuuming counterparts, and it’s easy to spot these limitations when you watch the iRobot Braava Jet 240 mopping robot in action.
It has basic collision detection, which means that it stops when it bumps into something, and turns around, heading back the direction it came in.
Unlike most vacuuming robots that map the room as they go, and remember where things are so they run into objects increasingly less often, the Braava Jet doesn’t have that. It goes until it hits something, and then turns around. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. It can (eventually) figure out how to get around smaller obstacles like table and chair legs, but anything bigger than that will just cause it to give up.
Also unlike vacuuming bots, it has a pretty rigid set of movement instructions. The key thing to remember with this model is, “it always tries to turn right.”
That’s the most crucial piece of information you’ll need when using the robot, and you’ve got to think about where you place him (his “starting position”) in the room. You want to visualize your room from a top-down perspective, and put the bot in the lower left-hand corner (assuming you want the whole room mopped), because again, the robot always tries to turn right when it navigates the room.
So here’s an example of when and why that matters.
Let’s say you want him to mop your kitchen, and in particular, you want him to focus on the coffee stains on the floor next to your counters.
The best way to do that would be to put the bot along the edge of the counter, such that the countertops are to his right (breaking the rule of thumb I just mentioned above). That way, he’ll scoot along the floor, right up next to the counter, and when he hits the far wall, he’ll try to turn right, which will make him run into the cabinets beneath your counters.
It’ll take him a minute to turn around, and when he does, he’ll retrace his steps. Then, he’ll turn around (turning right again), but he’ll reposition himself back along the original track and go over the area again until his cleaning cycle completes.
This is an important point because one of the most common complaints about mopping robots (including this one) is that they just don’t apply enough pressure to get up deeply embedded stains.
It’s true. They don’t exert the same amount of pressure you would if you were wielding a map. On the other hand, if you set him up correctly before you turn him loose, he’ll mop the same area relentlessly, and over time, your spots WILL come out! I know, I’ve tested it, and it really does work!
From a practical perspective, what this means to you is that depending on how your room is arranged and where the furnishings are, you may have to mop the room in stages because the little bot just can’t figure out how to get around obstacles.
I don’t personally regard that as being a deal breaker, because I just take a systematic approach to each of the two rooms I have him working on (kitchen and bathroom), and when he finishes one section, I just move him to the next and press the button again.
The other operating principle it works on is that when it’s finished with its cleaning cycle, it returns to the point you started it from, and it will remember this point, and never try to mop behind it. So for example, if you set it down in the middle of the room, as far as the robot is concerned, it’s up against a wall, and it will not even try to advance to any point behind where you initially set him down.
Another thing that’s worth pointing out here though is the fact that unlike most vacuuming bots, the Braava Jet 240 won’t return to his charging base when he’s low on battery power. That’s because he doesn’t have one.
When it’s time to recharge, you have to pop his battery out and plug it into the charger. Yes, it’s a little less convenient than a robot who will dutifully head back to home base for a recharge on his own, but honestly, it takes like three seconds to pop the battery out and plug it in, so it’s just not that big an issue. I can’t fathom that this limitation would be a deal breaker for anyone, but I suppose it’s theoretically possible.
This is a big, important part of our Braava 240 review, because at the end of the day, whether you decide to buy the robot or not is going to come down to the question of how well it cleans. I mentioned earlier that it doesn’t provide as much pressure on the floor like a human pushing a mop, and because of that, you’ll have to mop the same area repeatedly to get stubborn stains out.
On the other hand though, that all happens automatically. You don’t have to do anything except for position the bot correctly and push the button, and given enough passes; he will get even stubborn stains out.
The robot has three cleaning modes:
- Dry Sweeping
- Damp Mopping
- Wet Mopping
To me, this is one of the most intriguing features of the robot, because it uses ancient computing technology – punch cards!
The machine automatically selects the proper cleaning mode, based on which pad you install on it (white for dry sweeping, orange for damp mopping, and blue for wet mopping).
Dry sweeping is exactly what it sounds like. The white pads are unscented and are designed to pick up dust. I used the Braava Jet 240 in that mode twice, just to get a feel for it, but given that I have a Eufy vacuuming robot, I don’t need dry sweep mode, so I just never use it.
Personally, my favorite mode is damp mopping, which sees the robot drive in a straight line, then back up, spray a bit of water, and churn forward again, doing a bit of light scrubbing.
Note that to perform this type of mopping or wet mopping, you’ll need to fill the small water tank, accessible from the top of the unit.
I’ve done some experimentation here. The specs say that the robot can mop a 200-square foot room, and while that’s probably true, my house just isn’t set up to allow for that, so I have to move the robot a couple of times to fully cover the kitchen.
I do fill the water tank, but I’ve found that for best results, I spray some 409 or other cleaners onto the tile in advance of bringing in the robot. That gets mixed with a bit of water, and he goes to work. I tried putting the cleaner into the tank, and even experimented with a couple of drops of Dawn dishwashing detergent, but found that I got better results when I put the cleaner directly onto the floor, focusing on the stain areas.
Wet mopping mode is good, but in my opinion, if you want your floor thoroughly cleaned, then the best approach is damp mop, wet mop, then damp mop to finish up, so three cycles to get the room looking good.
The problem you’ll run into if you just set it to wet mop and call it done is that it will leave small streaks on the floor because the motion action is different. Where damp mop sees the robot proceed in a straight line, wet mopping mode has the robot veering off from his straight path at angles, just like you’d do if you were mopping or vacuuming.
Having experimented with it for a while now, that’s the configuration that works best for me (damp, wet, and damp to finish).
Of course, given the robot’s limitations, you may want to start off with a fairly clean floor, which will mean one more manual mop, and then have the robot do the maintenance, but even if you don’t want to do that, with a sufficient number of passes, the iRobot 240 can thoroughly clean even a nasty floor…it just depends on how much patience you have and how many times you want to push the button and have him do his thing.
What About Noise?
This is another extremely important part of our Braava Jet 240 review because let’s face it, if you’re going to have a robot take over some of your cleaning, then you want it to do so quietly, and here, the little robot wins high marks. He’s super quiet. As I’m writing this review, I’m less than three feet from the kitchen where he’s currently working, and I can’t hear him at all.
Occasionally I’ll hear a sound as he bumps into something, and if it’s completely quiet, maybe a small mechanical click as he changes direction, but neither of these things could be considered noise really, and they aren’t at all distracting. He’s about as quiet as quiet gets!
I’ll admit it. I got a little spoiled by all the extras that were included when I purchased my Eufy vacuuming robot, so I was a little underwhelmed here.
You get two of each cleaning pad to start you off. When I bought mine, I also purchased a ten pack of the damp, and a ten pack of the wet mopping cloths, as well as a two-pack of the reusable wet mopping cloths, and I’m glad I did. In my opinion, having only two of each type is pretty limiting, and you’ll find you need replacements very quickly (like, after your first day of using the machine).
In an ideal world, I’d love to see the machine come with a ten pack of each and a spare battery, which would allow you to keep him in continuous use, using one battery while recharging the other, but it’s not such a big deal that I’d consider it a deal breaker.
Ease Of Use
Our iRobot Braava 240 review wouldn’t be complete without calling particular attention to this aspect of the machine. It’s incredibly intuitive and easy to use. There’s just one button on the top of the unit. The hardest part is the initial setup and preparation, and here, it’s simply a matter of making sure you prep the machine in the proper order.
Specifically, what this means is, place the cleaning pad first, because you have to flip it over (on its back) to do that, and you don’t want to fill the small top-loading water tank first, or some of the water will drain out when you flip it.
So, pick your cleaning pad, slide it into position, fill the tank with hot water if you’re using either damp or wet mopping pads, pop the battery in, then place the robot in its starting position and push the button. That’s all there is to it. Kudos to iRobot for making it so easy to use!
Sure, it sees you having to manually reposition your robot a time or two to get a good, thorough cleaning, but considering the time it saves you, it’s a good trade.
Braava 240 Review Conclusion
So that wraps up our Braava 240 review. Having used it for more than a month now, I’m sold and wish I’d bought one sooner. Mopping is a thing of the past. All I have to do now is keep the battery charged and periodically relocate him to the area of the floor I want focused on next.
It’s super easy to use, really quiet, and ultra-convenient. I used to despise housework but always felt bad about not taking the time to sweep and mop. Now, I’ve got the best of both worlds. My floors look great, and I don’t have to do anything! Highly recommended, even considering its limitations.