The 10 Best Robo Mops
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in April of 2016. Whether you consider robotic cleaners a small price to pay or labor-saving devices only for the rich and famous, scrubbing floors the old-fashioned way is a laborious chore most of us could do without. Robot mops have come a long way in the last few years, and prices have come down, too, so handing over this dirty job to one of these automated helpers may be worth the cost to many. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 15, 2021:
We have made two additions in this latest update to our ranking, starting with the Lefant M571. This model offers laser guidance technology at an affordable price, works via Alexa voice control, and connects over WIFI for reliable operation. We liked that it has a dedicated tank for mopping, although this must be manually switched with the sweeping unit when it is time to change cleaning modes.
Secondly, we included the Bissell SpinWave, as it has received high praise from multiple reviewers and vendors since its introduction. This is largely based on its easy operation (app-only; there is no remote control), and its cleaning abilities, particularly in relation to hard surfaces. Unlike most robotic mops, this one allows the use of floor detergent for an even deeper clean, although they recommend you only use their own-brand product.
December 15, 2019:
During our research, we found that many robotic vacuums bill themselves as robotic mops simply because they offer users the ability to attach a damp cloth to the bottom. We believe that in order to be truly effective as a robo mop that can clean your floor autonomously, a device must have a water reservoir so it can continually dispense additional liquid as needed to remove grime and stains. Because of that, we took great care to ensure every model we recommend has that feature.
Since we last updated this list in 2017, there were many models that we previously recommended that we no longer feel warrant a spot. For example, the Infinuvo Hovo 650 was found to malfunction often, as did the Rollibot Genius BL800. Plus, there are reports of the manufacturer offering poor support to customers who owned a faulty device. We decided to remove the ILife V5S Pro as well, since the more recently released iLife V8s has more features, yet doesn't cost significantly more.
Other than the iRobot Braava Jet 240, iLife Shinebot W400, and iRobot Braava Jet M6, all of the rest of the models on our list are two-in-one devices that can both vacuum and mop your floors. This is because we feel most users will get more value out of a dual-purpose unit. However, the benefit of the iRobot Braava Jet 240, iLife Shinebot W400, and iRobot Braava Jet M6 is that they have bigger water reservoirs than combo units, so if you have a large floor plan, you may be better served by one of these. Conveniently, the iRobot Braava Jet M6 can actually link up to some of the company's robotic vacuums to clean in succession with one another, so your floors will be vacuumed and then immediately mopped just as you would do them manually.
The History Of The Robotic Cleaning Machine
iRobot was formed in the year 1990 by a group of MIT graduates who had all worked in that institution's Artificial Intelligence Lab.
While no one really needs a robot to clean their floors, anyone who has ever employed a robotic mop will tell you they probably don't ever want to go back to their technologically less advanced cleaning routine, also known as scrubbing the floors with "elbow grease". Short of hiring a maid or a cleaning service to maintain the floors of your residence for you, the next best thing is to put science to work for you, so to speak, by getting a robotic cleaning assistant.
And while the more advanced floor cleaning robotic mops can cost around the same as the most expensive vacuum cleaners, many decent robotic mops cost less than the price of two or three professional cleaning sessions. Think of your new robotic mop as an investment that will actually save you money -- not to mention lots of time -- in the future. And for the record, robotic mops and vacuum cleaners are the end result of a massive amount of investment into research and development over the better part of three decades.
The first commercially viable robotic cleaning tool was designed by the Swedish company Electrolux. Their robot vacuum, named the Electrolux Trilobite, was revealed in 1996. It would not become commercially available for several more years, though, finally going on sale in 2001. In that same year, British tech giant Dyson unveiled their own robotic vacuum cleaner system, but their DC06 would never go beyond the prototype phase due to the extremely high cost of production.
During all this time, however, another company had been hard at work developing robots that would, in time, revolutionize the way people's floors were cleaned. iRobot was formed in the year 1990 by a group of MIT graduates who had all worked in that institution's Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Throughout the 1990s, the team from iRobot developed a series of robots capable of partially or fully independent function. Some used crab-like legs for movement, while others used tank-style treads. Soon the company caught the attention of the military, earning a research contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known by its acronym DARPA. The DARPA contract led to the development of several autonomous robotic platforms.
It was in 2002, just a year after the Electrolux Trilobite and Dyson DC06 had been unveiled, that iRobot would reveal their most successful creation yet: the Roomba. Roomba sold more than a million units in just two years, making it far and away the most successful automated floor cleaning machine of its age. (More than ten million units would sell over the next decade.)
Today, iRobot remains at the forefront of robot cleaners. But they have been joined by their share of worthy competitors. If you ever dreamt of owning a robotic mop, you're alive at the right time right now.
Choosing Your Robotic Mop
Budget will do much to inform the robot mop that's right for you. As noted previously, while many models can be had for a small investment, others cost three times the price of a base-level model, making them simply too expensive for many cost-conscious consumers.
And finally consider the types of messes your robot vacuum will encounter.
Removing budget concerns for the sake of an objective look at features, next consider the room or rooms which your robotic mop will be tasked with cleaning. Not all units are able to clear hurdles such as door sills, so if you have interior space that requires a bit of all-terrain travel, make sure you only consider a robot mop that is up to the climb, so to speak. (Note that some robot mops can climb gradients of as much as 25 degrees of tilt, great for residences where someone with mobility issues has had ramps installed.)
Time can also be a factor: the beauty of a robotic cleaning machine is that it's hard at work when you're away from home or asleep. But some models can take as long as two hours to complete a cleaning cycle, so you would have to carefully time the unit's cleaning window to not coincide with your evening or morning routine, or to clutter up your kitchen on a weekend.
And finally consider the types of messes your robot vacuum will encounter. Some units are great at focused scrubbing for special messes; perfect for sticky syrups or juices spilled by kids, while others also have brush and vacuum features; great for lifting cat or dog hair and removing potential allergens from the home.
Tips On Making The Most Of Robot Mops
The best thing you can do to help your robot mop is to handle some of the cleaning yourself. The faster you tackle a spill with some water and paper towels, the less it will dry and adhere to the floor.
Also, the more you can move furniture out of a room during a cleaning cycle, the better the cleaning job the robot mop can do.
Your robotic mop can never replace your own dedicated scrubbing when it comes to deep cleaning a stain or sticky spot, so don't ask it to. Instead treat your robotic helper as a tool to provide a reliable once over to the home -- also called maintenance cleaning -- while your job remains to handle the messier work.
Make sure to keep the area around your robot mops charging dock free of obstacles. Most units will automatically return to their charging base when their batteries run low, and you have to make it easy for them to do as such. Also, the more you can move furniture out of a room during a cleaning cycle, the better the cleaning job the robot mop can do.
Also make sure to clean out and/or fill your unit's reservoirs as needed: they can chart their own course around the room, but they can't drain or fill their own water tanks or add cleaning solution.