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There seems to be a quiet renaissance happening in the cleaning world and few people have noticed it. First, robot vacuums slowly modernized the maintenance of a home’s floors for dust and dirt, and now, you will be able to get a deeper clean with the help of a wet mop for tile and laminate floors.
But is there a difference between a robot vacuum and a robot mop? Yes, absolutely. There is a major difference between the two focused on how they will clean your floors. A robot vacuum does just that; it vacuums. Bristles attached to roller pins and rotating knobs sweep up and suck up dust, hair, and dirt.
What Is A Robot Mop?
A robot mop either cleans with a wet rag or physically sprays water and then lightly scrubs the floor. So, the main difference is that with the robot mop you are getting a significantly deeper clean.
Though don’t expect the robot mop to work on carpets. It isn’t a carpet cleaner. It does wonders on tile and laminate floors. For hardwood floors you can use wet rag option as applying large amounts of water directly to hardwood can be damaging.
Certain models are built to only mop. That is it. They have a built in reservoir to hold the water or cleaning fluid and underneath have a rag or wet brush attachment. The water is then vacuumed off the floor. These “mop only” models are perfect if you already have a robot vacuum or don’t have any carpets or rugs. Though the higher end models have virtual wall options if 75% of your home or apartment is carpeted a robot mop may not save you a lot of time.
Dual Vacuum / Mop
Other models have the option of either being a robot vacuum or a robot mop. But don’t think these are the best of both worlds. Though these types do a great job, they are more of a compromise between the two types. These are a great option for smaller places or low maintenance homes. The reservoir that contains the dirt and grime can be swapped out for one that contains water when you need to switch between vacuuming and mopping.
Should I get one?
Each person will have different cleaning routines for their home, office, or apartment. These should be viewed as maintenance robots that help keep your space clean from day to day which will lengthen the time in between deep cleans. However, these robots will not clean hard stains or stuck-on gunk.
You will still need to physically clean corners, edges, harder stains, and below any low furniture. These limitations, though, are in line with the limitations of robot vacuums. So, if you need help day to day with your cleaning and you have tiled or laminate floors then a robot mop is a fantastic time and energy saver.
Robot mops not only keep floors cleaner than robot vacuums but many can be controlled in the same way, remotely via your smartphone.
How do I decide which one to buy?
There are a couple of points you need to be aware of when buying a robot mop. Remember that these are tools, so you need to buy the right tool for the right job.
What size floor will it be cleaning? 1000 square feet? 200 square feet? The size here matters because the water and battery life is significantly different (lower) for robot mops than vacuums. Mopping requires more battery energy and requires water or cleaning fluid which is limited to the size of the reservoir.
Depending on the model version and brand some of the robot mops connect to your smartphone while others don’t. Some like the iRobot versions can even speak and connect with your robot vacuum. They connect and clean in tandem, very cool. However, if they don’t connect to your phone they are still programmable.
The features that you need in a robot mop depend partially on what type of floors you have. Remember, that the mops won’t clean carpets or rugs unless the robot is a dual function robot. Further, you will need to make sure that the robot mop has a wet rag option for hardwood floors. So, list your floor types and think about what you need to keep clean the most. Is it all three? Then get a combo or one vacuum and one mop robot. Have all hardwood or a combination of hardwood and tile/laminate? Then get a higher-end robot mop only, no need for a combo unless your space is under 800 square feet.
The Best Robot Mops
Best of Show: iRobot Braava Jet m6
This Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatible device is the cream of the crop, but you are going to have to pay for it. This little monster cleaner can pair with certain Roomba vacuums to work in tandem. One vacuum’s, then the other mops up for an irresistible and uncanny shine.
Though it is technically not a dual combination robot it works with wet or dry slip-on pads so you can dry “sweep” your floors before mopping. Further, the Braava Jet m6 covers 1,000 square feet before the need to recharge and has “virtual wall” features for marking rugs or carpeting. With its precision spraying, you won’t find a better robot mop.
Most Affordable: iLife Shinebot W400
The iLife Shinebot W400 is a close 2nd on cleanliness and has the added advantage of being significantly cheaper. With an amazing four-mode cleaning it can spray, scrub, suction, and dry an area where others may only wipe with a wet cloth.
By pre-wetting surfaces and then scrubbing with a microfiber brush it is able to actually get some stuck-on dirt off floors. Another great option is that it has separate clean and dirty water tanks to stop any cross-contamination. The downside is that it has less than 1000 square feet range and is bulkier than other options so it can’t be used in tight spaces or around low furniture.
Best Dual Vacuum / Mop Combo: Roborock S6
This Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant enabled combination robot has a powerful vacuum for dust and dirt that almost equals that of its single purpose robot vacuum alternatives. With a long battery life it can cover a large area, though you will need to empty its dustbin often due to space considerations for a dust and water bin.
Similar to the robot above, the Roborock is a bit on the tall side and may not fit under low furniture. However, the power of the dual feature cleaning may in and of itself be worth the larger size.
Runner Up 1: iRobot Braava 380t
Do you have a large area to cover with both hardwood and tile or laminate? There is no better option that the Braava 380t. Its two modes, dry or damp rag mop, can cover up to 1000 square feet. It is slim and it is compatible with Swiffer brand wet and dry cloths.
This robot is an amazing maintenance cleaner for any large space with its dual sweep and wet modes. Though it doesn’t qualify as a vacuum or a wet mop its silent running and smart integration make a worthwhile buy.
Runner Up 2: iLife V8s
The iLife V8s won’t connect to your phone or any other device. Though it lacks smart connectivity it makes up for it with six cleaning modes. This model is your mid-range, basic cleaning focused robot. It has a higher than average cleaning ability and has a low profile for getting under most furniture. This little robot is great for those looking for an entry dual function model that cleans, period.
In the grand scheme of robot cleaning devices, the robot mop is still in its infancy. Newer models are getting increasingly better at cleaning tile and laminate floors while being energy efficient and more streamlined.
Though you will absolutely still need to apply a little elbow grease to those stuck on stains these little bad boys are a must for any techie clean freak looking to maximize their downtime. All of these options are easy to install, easy to use, and absolutely will help clean your floor.