Which self-operated mop is the best choice for the average household?

Self-operating cleaning devices no longer are novelties reserved for the most privileged members of society. A more useful investment than the traditional mop and bucket, robot mops are sweeping the household market. While many brands have put their inventions on the market, iRobot and Shark are standout providers of self-operating mops and vacuums. Their features and reliability lend themselves to an ongoing debate over which product is better than the other.

iRobot mop

The iRobot Braava Mop was invented by the company that created the Roomba. It can be bundled with a Roomba vacuum, bringing a whole set of cohesive robotic cleaners into your home. Choose from the three series: the 200 Series, the 300 Series and the m Series.

There is a bundle option with a mop (Braava jet m6), vacuum (Roomba s9+) and handheld vacuum (iRobot H1) available. All products are offered with free ground shipping and monthly payment options as well as a 60-day trial period and a one-year warranty. An additional Protect+ Plan is also offered for two or four years at an additional cost.

iRobot pros

The iRobot Mop operates with VSlam Navigation, building personal smart maps to navigate the home. It features self-charging technology by docking itself and resuming the cleaning process without any inconveniences.

An app called iRobot Home is available and allows you to direct the product automatically, creating “keep out” zones to keep the device in specified areas. In addition, the m Series can be voice-controlled and paired with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The iRobot mop can use imprint link technology to be paired with the Roomba vacuum.

The device is safe for use on finished floors, including hardwood, tile and stone. It has the versatility to clean around objects and underneath furniture. The iRobot mop has both disposable and reusable mop pads available; it comes with four single-use pads and one reusable wet mop pad.

Overall, reviews describe the iRobot mop as easy to use and effective while having a long operating life. The creators of the mop realize they offer many options, and have a personalized quiz available on the iRobot website to help you determine which of the devices suits you best.

iRobot cons

Although reviews of the iRobot range from four stars and up, the mops have been described as noisy, difficult to clean and having a small debris bin. Moreover, the product sometimes can struggle to dock itself in the charging port or have technical bugs, although these issues are reported less in the 200 and 300 Series.

Best iRobot

Top iRobot for the money

iRobot Braava 240

iRobot Braava 240

The Braava 240 cleans your home without much fuss or oversight. It has a 180-minute battery life and fewer features, making it optimal for cleaning smaller homes and spaces. You can set boundaries in a virtual wall mode to keep the device from venturing beyond rooms without doors. The mop automatically selects its cleaning method based on the type of pad attached — wet mopping, damp sweeping or dry sweeping.

Sold by Amazon

Top iRobot for large spaces

iRobot Braava 380t

iRobot Braava 380t

The Braava 380t has a shorter runtime of 150 minutes but has a sweeping coverage of 1,000 square feet and a mopping coverage of 350 square feet. It has two cleaning modes — sweep and mop — that can be manually selected, giving you more control over the cleaning process.

Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Top iRobot with additional features

iRobot Braava m6

iRobot Braava m6 

The Braava Jet M6 is the newest model in the m Series and the most expensive one. It uses smart mapping and visual navigation technology to clean multiple rooms and large spaces. A smart-charge function directs the device to self-dock at a charging station and resume cleaning without any manual control. In addition, you can control the robot with voice commands through the iRobot Home app.

Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Shark

Shark AI VACMOP

Founded only a few years after iRobot, Shark brought a new and innovative robot mop to the market. Instead of having multiple series and models, Shark has one model that serves as a combination vacuum and mop appliance. The Shark AI VACMOP scrubs floors and suctions them, all through the convenient control of the SharkClean app.

The VACMOP is available at Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond with free shipping and optional monthly payments. The product has a 60-day trial period and a one-year limited warranty.

Shark pros

The Shark AI VACMOP has both wet and dry settings and can work over carpet (low and medium pile) and hardwood surfaces. It uses Sonic Mapping and AI Laser Navigation to precisely clean and map the home to avoid objects and “no-go zones.”

Pet owners should gravitate toward this appliance as the Shark mop is built to not only suck up pet hair, but remove it from the brush roll as it operates. The brush roll is built to clean itself as it goes, preventing a clogged suction that would diminish the quality of the clean cycle.

You can download the app SharkClean on both iPhone and Android and control the VACMOP, or you can use voice-activation features through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Reviews of the AI VACMOP revere the product for doing its job as promised: picking up dust, hair and debris while simultaneously scrubbing the floor. The needs of many are met through the extensive features offered in the aforementioned app and scheduled cleanings are convenient. Reviewers also mentioned you can use the Shark mop in tandem with multiple varieties of cleaning fluid or warm water depending on the owner’s preference.

Shark cons

The Shark mop has 3.9 stars at Kohl’s and 4.5 stars at Bed Bath and Beyond, although common complaints state the water tank must be regularly refilled. Additionally, cleaning the dust collector is inconvenient. You must manually dock the item for a charge and its runtime is limited to 90 minutes.

Which product should you buy?

Shark has made a strong entry into the market of self-operating mops, but the iRobot has a wider range of models for customers to choose what best suits their needs. The iRobot Braava 240 is simple and automatically operated on hard floors. It is ideal for kitchens and bathrooms, which tend to be the rooms most in need of a cleaning. Its price is not exorbitant, making it a reasonable purchase for maintaining the cleanliness of your home. Being automatically operated and requiring minimal interaction, its simplicity in design limits possible technical errors, and makes it a simple and reliable purchase for the everyday household.

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Gwen Swanson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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