Price (RRP): $479
The most famous product produced by iRobot is of course the long-standing iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. We’ve been looking at it in its various manifestations for over a decade, most recently when we reviewed the current Roomba 980 model. But since the Roomba first appeared, iRobot has produced wet cleaning devices as well and introduced the Braava range of floor mopping robots. The current top of the range is the $599 Braava 380t, which we reviewed here.
But now there’s the versatile hard-floor cleaner, the iRobot Braava Jet 240.
The iRobot Braava Jet 240 Mopping Robot actually includes sweeping functions – both damp and dry – in addition to mopping. It’s designed to clean rooms of up to 25 square metres in damp and dry modes, and up to 20 square metres in wet mode.
That equates to a decent sized room: five by five metres, and four by five metres, respectively. For larger areas, the Braava 300 series might be a better choice. iRobot recommends the Braava Jet 240 more for kitchens and bathrooms.
The Braava Jet 240 is a smallish device. It basically occupies a square of about 180mm on a side and stands 84mm tall. The front section is connected to the bulk of the body by springs, so that it can move when pressed against objects. That’s how it knows to stop, back up, change direction and so forth.
Attached to the underside of this front section are slots to hold the cleaning pads. There are three different kinds for the three modes. Each is 178mm wide by 68mm deep. Also in the front section is a nozzle for spraying water out ahead of the cleaner. That’s how it gets the water down. Unlike the bigger model, it doesn’t wick the water down through the pad itself. The pad is there to soak up the water and wipe up the dirt directly from the floor.
At the two bottom corners of the front section are also sensors which monitor floor level. If it falls away – stairs or something – then the Braava will know about it and treat that as a barrier.
At the back is fold up carry handle, underneath which resides a rubber cap for the water tank and the release for the pads. Underneath that section are the two drive wheels. They are independently driven, thereby giving the unit the ability to steer itself. There is no wheel at the front, which is held up by the cleaning pad.
The rechargeable Lithium Ion battery is a 3.6 volt, 1950mAh unit. It clips into a bay at the back of the Braava. It was easy to insert and remove. The unit comes with a battery charger with a similar bay. iRobot says that the battery takes two hours to charge. That seemed about right, or perhaps even over conservative. The first time was quicker – less than a hundred minutes – and that might have been due to it having retained a partial charge from a previous use. But throughout recharges were completed more quickly than I anticipated.
The device is supplied with six pads, two each for dry sweeping, damp sweeping and mopping. New ones are available for $24.95 for a two pack of each variety. Alternatively, you can by a set of two washable wet mopping pads for $49.95, or a three pack of a dry, damp and wet pad, all of them washable, for $59.95.
It’s kind of fun watching the Braava Jet 240 poke its way this way and that around the room. I started with a dry sweep in my kitchen – it has large, shiny ceramic tiles on the floor, and lots of bumps and crevices down the sides of the room. You slide the relevant pad onto the bottom – it slides smoothly and clicks positively into place. Things went pretty well at the start.
I’d actually planned to just put it down and press the button, but while the battery was charging I’d installed the iRobot app on my phone. I discovered that this will connect to the Braava Jet 240. By Bluetooth? WiFi Direct? I don’t know. There was certainly no connection with my home WiFi network.
But connect it did, and you can start the unit using that, as well as set the limited controls. It also gave instructions. As it requested, I put the Braava at the rear left hand point of the area I wanted swept, and pressed the “Clean” button on the app. Off went the Braava.